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The t 



Exploits of Elaine 

A Detective Novel 



By 

Arthur B. Reeve 

Author of the **Craig Kennedy: Scientific Detective" 

Books— **The Silent Bullet," ''The Poisoned 

Pen," ''The Dream Doctor," "Guy 

Garrick," and "The War 

Terror. ' ' 



Dramatized into a Photo-Play by 

Charles W. Goddard 

Author of "The Perils of Pauline," "The Ghost 

Breaker," "The Misleading Lady," and 

other plays. 



New York 
Hearst's International Library Co. 



Copyright, 1914, 191S, by 
The Star Co. 

Copyright, 1915, by 
Hearst's International Library Co., Inc. 

All rights reserved, including the translation into foreign 
languages, including the Scandinavian. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 



I The Clutching Hand i 

II The Twilight Sleep i8 

III The Vanishing Jewels 39 

IV *' The Frozen Safe '' 61 

V The Poisoned Room 82 

VI The Vampire 104 

VII The Double Trap 126 

VIII The Hidden Voice 145 

IX The Death Ray 167 

X The Life Current 189 

XI The Hour of Three 211 

XII The Blood Crystals 234 

XIII The Devil Worshippers 259 

XIV The Reckoning 280 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

'' The Clutching Hand did this ! I shall 
consecrate my life to bring this man 
to justice!" Frontispiece 

FACING 
PAGE 

The finger prints on the bust were Kennedy's own i8 

" Just a moment, ]Miss Dodge," he encouraged as 

he jabbed the needle into her arm .... 32 

He came stealthily through that window ... 36 

In spite of the excitement, Kennedy quietly ex- 
amined the show case 42 

A masked face protruded, gazing about the room. 

It was the Clutching Hand 76 

Rusty submitted patiently, but without any spirit 90 

She levelled the automatic at the figure silhou- 
etted in her window and fired three times . 106 

Holding his hand over her mouth to prevent her 

screaming, he snatched the revolver away . 114 

"Elaine was kidnapped — in the armor," he cried 120 

There stood her arch enemy, the Clutching Hand 

himself 136 

I happened to look up and caught a glance of hor- 
ror on Craig's face 184 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



FACING 
PAGE 



Craig, approaching the couch on which Elaine lay, 

applied the electrodes 208 

We heard a call that caused Kennedy to look at 

me quickly 222 

The newcomer slowly raised his crooked hand 

over his head 228 

Craig hurried up to her and literally ripped the 

watch off her wrist 234 

Elaine dropped the knife and bent over him . . 242 

" Hold her," ordered Long Sin in guttural Chi- 

ese to the two attendants 274 

Bennett had hurled himself upon Elaine and was 

slowly choking her 294 

Kennedy thrust his hand through the opening and 
turned the catch . . •. ., . :.. ., ,. 298 



Presented by the Hearst Sunday newspapers in collaboration 
with Pathe Freres — Theodore and Leopold Wharton, Di- 
rectors. Adapted from the " Craig Kennedy " Series in the 
Cosmopolitan Magazine. 

INTRODUCING 

Miss Pearl White as " Elaine." 

Arnold Daly as ** Craig Kennedy." 

Creighton Hale as " Walter Jameson." 

Sheldon Lewis as " Perry Bennett." 

Mrs Besse R Wharton as " Aunt Josephine." 



THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

CHAPTER I 

THE CLUTCHING HAND 

" Jameson, here's a story I wish you'd follow up," 
remarked the managing editor of the Star to me one 
evening after I had turned in an assignment of the late 
afternoon. 

He handed me a clipping from the evening edition 
of the Star and I quickly ran my eye over the head- 
line : 

" THE CLUTCHING HAND " WINS AGAIN 



NEW YORK S MYSTERIOUS MASTER CRIMINAL 
PERFECTS ANOTHER COUP 



CITY POLICE COMPLETELY BAFFLED 

" Here's this murder of Fletcher, the retired banker 
and trustee of the University," he explained. ** Not 
a clue — except a warning letter signed with this 
mysterious clutching fist. Last week it was the rob- 
bery of the Haxworth jewels and the killing of old 
Haxworth. Again that curious sign of the hand. 
Then there was the dastardly attempt on Sherburne, 
the steel magnate. Not a trace of the assailant ex- 

I 



2 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

cept this same clutching fist. So it has gone, Jame- 
son — the most alarming and most inexplicable series 
of murders that has ever happened in this country. 
And nothing but this uncanny hand to trace them 
by." 

The editor paused a moment, then exclaimed, 
*' Why, this fellow seems to take a diaboHcal — I 
might almost say pathological — pleasure in crimes of 
violence, revenge, avarice and self-protection. Some- 
times it seems as if he delights in the pure deviltry of 
the thing. It is weird." 

He leaned over and spoke in a low, tense tone. 
" Strangest of all, the tip has just come to us that 
Fletcher, Haxworth, Sherburne and all the rest of 
those wealthy men were insured in the Consolidated 
Mutual Life. Now, Jameson, I want you to find 
Taylor Dodge, the president, and interview him. Get 
what you can, at any cost." 

I had naturally thought first of Kennedy, but there 
was no time now to call him up and, besides, I must 
see Dodge immediately. 

Dodge, I discovered over the telephone, was not 
at home, nor at any of the clubs to which he belonged. 
Late though it was I concluded that he was at his 
office. No amount of persuasion could get me past 
the door, and, though I found out later and shall tell 
soon what was going on there, I determined, about 
nine o'clock, that the best way to get at Dodge was 
to go to his house on Fifth Avenue, if I had to camp 
on his front doorstep until morning. The harder I 
found the story to get, the more I wanted it. 

With some misgivings about being admitted, I rang 
the bell of the splendid, though not very modem, 



THE CLUTCHING HAND 3 

Dodge residence. An English butler, with a nose 
that must have been his fortune, opened the door 
and gravely informed me that Mr. Dodge was not at 
home, but was expected at any moment. 

Once in, I was not going lightly to give up that ad- 
vantage. I bethought myself of his daughter, Elaine, 
one of the most popular debutantes of the season, and 
sent in my card to her, on a chance of interesting her 
and seeing her father, writing on the bottom of the 
card : " Would Hke to interview Mr. Dodge regard- 
ing Clutching Hand." 

Summoning up what assurance I had, which is some- 
times considerable, I followed the butler down the hall 
as he bore my card. As he opened the door of the 
drawing room I caught a vision of a slip of a girl, 
in an evening gown. 

Elaine Dodge was both the ingenue and the athlete 
— the thoroughly modern type of girl — equally at 
home with tennis and tango, table talk and tea. Vi- 
vacious eyes that hinted at a stunning amber brown 
sparkled beneath masses of the most wonderful au- 
burn hair. Her pearly teeth, when she smiled, were 
marvellous. And she smiled often, for life to her 
seemed a continuous film of enjoyment. 

Near her I recognized from his pictures. Perry 
Bennett, the rising young corporation lawyer, a mighty 
good looking fellow, with an aflfable, pleasing way 
about him, perhaps thirty-five years old or so, but 
already prominent and quite friendly with Dodge. 

On a table I saw a book, as though Elaine had cast 
it down when the lawyer arrived to call on the daugh- 
ter under pretense of waiting for her father. 



4 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Crumpled on the table was the Star. They had read 
the story. 

" Who is it, Jennings ? " she asked. 

"A reporter, Miss Dodge," answered the butler 
glancing superciliously back at me, "and you know 
how your father dislikes to see anyone here at the 
house,'* he added deferentially to her. 

I took in the situation at a glance. Bennett was 
trying not to look discourteous, but this was a call on 
Elaine and it had been interrupted. I could expect no 
help from that quarter. Still, I fancied that Elaine 
was not averse to trying to pique her visitor and de- 
termined at least to try it. 

** Miss Dodge,'* I pleaded, bowing as if I had known 
them all my life, ** I've been trying to find your father 
all the evening. It's very important." 

She looked up at me surprised and in doubt whether 
to laugh or stamp her pretty little foot in indignation 
at my stupendous nerve. 

She laughed. " You are a very brave young man," 
she replied with a roguish look at Bennett's discom- 
fiture over the interruption of the tete-a-tete. 

There was a note of seriousness in it, too, that made 
me ask quickly, ** Why ? " 

The smile flitted from her face and in its place 
came a frank earnest expression which I later learned 
to like and respect very much. " My father has de- 
clared he will eat the very next reporter who tries to 
interview him here," she answered. 

I was about to prolong the waiting time by some 
jolly about such a stunning girl not having by any 
possibility such a cannibal of a parent, when the rat- 



THE CLUTCHING HAND 5 

tie of the changing gears of a car outside told of the 
approach of a limousine. 

The big front door opened and Elaine flung her- 
self in the arms of an elderly, stern-faced, gray- 
haired man. " Why, Dad," she cried, *' where have 
you been? I missed you so much at dinner. FU be 
so glad when this terrible business gets cleared up. 
Tell — me. What is on your mind ? What is it that 
worries you now ? '* 

I noticed then that Dodge seemed wrought-up and 
a bit unnerved, for he sank rather heavily into a chair, 
brushed his face with his handkerchief and breathed 
heavily, Elaine hovered over him solicitously, repeat- 
ing her question. 

With a mighty eflfort he seemed to get himself to- 
gether. He rose and turned to Bennett. 

" Perry," he exclaimed, '* Fve got the Clutching 
Hand ! " 

The two men stared at each other. 

" Yes," continued Dodge, ** Tve just found out how 
to trace it, and tomorrow I am going to set the alarms 
of the city at rest by exposing — " 

Just then Dodge caught sight of me. For the mo- 
ment I thought perhaps he was going to fulfill his 
threat. 

" Who the devil — why didn't you tell me a re- 
porter was here, Jennings ? " he sputtered indignantly, 
pointing toward the door. 

Argument, entreaty were of no avail. He stamped 
crustily into the library, taking Bennett with him and 
leaving me with Elaine. Inside I could hear them 
talking, and managed to catch enough to piece together 
the story. I wanted to stay, but Elaine, smiling at my 



6 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

enthusiasm, shook her head and held out her hand 
in one of her frank, straight-arm hand shakes. There 
was nothing to do but go. 

At least, I reflected, I had the greater part of the 
story — all except the one big thing, however, — the 
name of the criminal. But Dodge would know him to- 
morrow ! 

I hurried back to the Star to write my story in time 
to catch the last morning edition. 

Meanwhile, if I may anticipate my story, I must 
tell of what we later learned had happened to Dodge 
so completely to upset him. 

Ever since the Consolidated Mutual had been hit by 
the murders, he had had many lines out in the hope of 
enmeshing the perpetrator. That night, as I found 
out the next day, he had at last heard of a clue. One 
of the company's detectives had brought in a red- 
headed, lame, partly paralyzed crook who enjoyed the 
expressive monniker of " Limpy Red." " Limpy Red " 
was a gunman of some renown, evil faced and having 
nothing much to lose, desperate. Whoever the mas- 
ter criminal of the Clutching Hand might have been 
he had seen fit to employ Limpy but had not taken the 
precaution of getting rid of him soon enough when he 
was through. 

Wherefore Limpy had a grievance and now de- 
scended under pressure to the low level of snitching to 
Dodge in his office. 

" No, Governor," the trembling wretch had said as 
he handed over a grimy envelope, " I ain't never seen 
his face — but here is directions how to find his hang- 
out." 



THE CLUTCHING HAND 7 

As Limpy ambled out, he turned to Dodge, quiver- 
ing at the enormity of his unpardonable sin in gang- 
land, '* For God's sake, Governor," he implored, 
" don't let on how you found out ! " 

And yet Limpy Red had scarcely left with his prom- 
ise not to tell, when Dodge, happening to turn over 
some papers came upon an envelope left on his own 
desk, bearing that mysterious Clutching Hand! 

He tore it open, and read in amazement : 

'* Destroy Limpy Red's instructions within the next 
hour." 

Dodge gazed about in wonder. This thing was get- 
ting on his nerv^es. He determined to go home and 
rest. 

Outside the house, as he left his car, pasted over 
the monogram on the door, he had found another note, 
with the same weird mark and the single word: 

''Remember!" 

Much of this I had already gathered from what I 
overheard Dodge telling Bennett as they entered the 
library. Some, also, I have pieced together from the 
story of a servant who overheard. 

At any rate, in spite of the pleadings of young 
Bennett, Dodge refused to take w^arning. In the safe 
in his beautifully fitted library he deposited Limpy's 
document in an envelope containing all the corre- 
spondence that had lead up to the final step in the 
discovery. 

It was late in the evening when I returned to our 
apartment and, not finding Kennedy there, knew that 
I would discover him at the laboratory. 



8 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" Craig," I cried as I burst in on him, '' IVe got a 
case for you — greater than any ever before ! " 

Kennedy looked up calmly from the ruck of scien- 
tific instruments that surrounded him, test tubes, 
beakers, carefully labelled bottles. 

He had been examining a piece of cloth and had 
laid it aside in disappointment near his magnifying 
glass. Just now he was watching a reaction in a 
series of test tubes standing on his table. He was 
looking dejectedly at the floor as I came in. 

'' Indeed ? " he remarked coolly going back to the 
reaction. 

" Yes," I cried. " It is a scientific criminal who 
seems to leave no clues." 

Kennedy looked up gravely. " Every criminal 
leaves a trace," he said quietly. '' If it hasn't been 
found, then it must be because no one has ever looked 
for it in the right way." 

Still gazing at me keenly, he added, " Yes, I already 
knew there was such a man at large. I have been 
called in on that Fletcher case — he was a trustee of 
the University, you know." 

''All right," I exclaimed, a little nettled that he 
should have anticipated me even so much in the case. 
'' But you haven't heard the latest." 

" What is it ? " he asked with provoking calmness. 

" Taylor Dodge," I blurted out, '' has the clue. To- 
morrow he will track down the man ! " 

Kennedy fairly jumped as I repeated the news. 

" How long has he known ? " he demanded eagerly. 

'* Perhaps three or four hours," I hazarded. 

Kennedy gazed at me fixedly. 

'' Then Taylor Dodge is dead ! " he exclaimed, 



THE CLUTCHING HAND 9 

throwing off his acid-stained laboratory smock and 
hurrying into his street clothes. 

*' Impossible ! " I ejaculated. 

Kennedy paid no attention to the objection. 
'' Come, Walter/' he urged. " We must hurry, be- 
fore the trail gets cold." 

There was something positively uncanny about 
Kennedy's assurance. I doubted — yet I feared. 

It was well past the middle of the night when we 
pulled up in a night-hawk taxicab before the Dodge 
house, mounted the steps and rang the bell. 

Jennings answered sleepily, but not so much so 
that he did not recognize me. He was about to bang 
the door shut when Kennedy interposed his foot. 

*' Where is Mr. Dodge ? " asked Kennedy. " Is he 
all right?" 

" Of course he is — in bed," replied the butler. 

Just then we heard a faint cry, like nothing exactly 
human. Or was it our heightened imaginations, un- 
der the spell of the darkness? 

" Listen ! " cautioned Kennedy. 

We did, standing there now in the hall. Kennedy 
was the only one of us who was cool. Jennings' face 
blanched, then he turned tremblingly and went down 
to the library door whence the sounds had seemed to 
come. 

He called but there was no answer. He turned the 
knob and opened the door. The Dodge library was a 
large room. In the center stood a big flat-topped desk 
of heavy mahogany. It was brilliantly lighted. 

At one end of the desk was a telephone. Taylor 
Dodge was lying on the floor at that end of the desk — 
perfectly rigid — his face distorted — a ghastly figure. 



10 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

A pet dog ran over, sniffed frantically at his master's 
legs and suddenly began to howl dismally. 

Dodge was dead ! 

" Help ! " shouted Jennings. 

Others of the servants came rushing in. There was 
for the moment the greatest excitement and confusion. 

Suddenly a wild figure in flying garments flitted 
down the stairs and into the library, dropping beside 
the dead man, without seeming to notice us at all. 

" Father ! '' shrieked a woman's voice, heart broken. 
" Father ! Oh — my God — he — he is dead ! " 

It was Elaine Dodge. 

With a mighty effort, the heroic girl seemed to pull 
herself together. 

*' Jennings," she cried, *' Call Mr. Bennett — im- 
mediately ! " 

From the one-sided, excited conversation of the 
butler over the telephone, I gathered that Bennett had 
been in the process of disrobing in his own apartment 
uptown and would be right down. 

Together, Kennedy, Elaine and myself lifted Dodge 
to a sofa and Elaine's aunt, Josephine, with whom she 
lived, appeared on the scene, trying to quiet the sob- 
bing girl. 

Kennedy and I withdrew a little way and he looked 
about curiously. 

" What was it ? " I whispered. " Was it natural, 
an accident, or — or murder ? " 

The word seemed to stick in my throat. If it was 
a murder, what was the motive? Could it have been 
to get the evidence which Dodge had that would in- 
criminate the master criminal ? 

Kennedy moved over quietly and examined the 



THE CLUTCHING HAND ii 

body of Dodge. When he rose, his face had a peculiar 
look. 

" Terrible ! " he whispered to me. '' x\pparently he 
had been working at his accustomed place at the desk 
when the telephone rang. He rose and crossed over 
to it. See ! That brought his feet on this register let 
into the floor. As he took the telephone receiver 
down a flash of light must have shot from it to his 
ear. It shows the characteristic electric bum.'' 

" The motive ? '' I queried. 

" Evidently his pockets had been gone through, 
though none of the valuables were missing. Things 
on his desk show that a hasty search has been made.'* 

Just then the door opened and Bennett burst in. 

As he stood over the body, gazing down at it, re- 
pressing the emotions of a strong man, he turned to 
Elaine and in a low voice, exclaimed, " The Clutch- 
ing Hand did this ! I shall consecrate my life to bring 
this man to justice!" 

He spoke tensely and Elaine, looking up into his 
face, as if imploring his help in her hour of need, un- 
able to speak, merely grasped his hand. 

Kennedy, who in the meantime had stood apart from 
the rest of us, was examining the telephone carefully. 

" A clever crook," I heard him mutter between his 
teeth. *' He must have worn gloves. Not a finger 
print — at least here." 

Perhaps I can do no better than to reconstruct the 
crime as Kennedy later pieced these startling events 
together. 

Long after I had left and even after Bennett left. 



12 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Dodge continued working in his library, for he was 
known as a prodigious worker. 

Had he taken the trouble, however, to pause and 
peer out into the moonlight that flooded the back of 
his house, he might have seen the figures of two 
stealthy crooks crouching in the half shadows of one 
of the cellar windows. 

One crook was masked by a handkerchief drawn 
tightly about his lower face, leaving only his eyes 
visible beneath the cap with visor pulled down over 
his forehead. He had a peculiar stoop of the shoul- 
ders and wore his coat collar turned up. One hand, 
the right, seemed almost deformed. It was that which 
gave him his name in the underworld — the Clutching 
Hand. 

The masked crook held carefully the ends of two 
wires attached to an electric feed, and sending his 
pal to keep watch outside, he entered the cellar of the 
Dodge house through a window whose pane they had 
carefully removed. As he came through the window 
he dragged the wires with him, and, after a moment's 
reconnoitering attached them to the furnace pipe of 
the old-fashioned hot-air heater where the pipe ran 
up through the floor to the library above. The other 
wire was quickly attached to the telephone where its 
wires entered. 

Upstairs, Dodge, evidently uneasy in his mind about 
the precious '' Limpy Red " letter, took it from the 
safe along with most of the other correspondence and, 
pressing a hidden spring in the wall, opened a secret 
panel, placed most of the important documents in 
this hiding place. Then he put some blank sheets of 
paper in an envelope and returned it to the safe. 



THE CLUTCHING HAND 13 

Downstairs the masked master criminal had already- 
attached a voltmeter to the wires he had installed, 
waiting. 

Just then could be heard the tinkle of Dodge's tele- 
phone and the old man rose to answer it. As he did 
so he placed his foot on the iron register, his hand 
taking the telephone and the receiver. At that in- 
stant came a powerful electric flash. Dodge sank on 
the floor grasping the instrument, electrocuted. Be- 
low, the master criminal could scarcely refrain from 
exclaiming with satisfaction as his voltmeter regis- 
tered the powerful current that was passing. 

A moment later the criminal slid silently into 
Dodge's room. Carefully putting on rubber gloves 
and avoiding touching the register, he wrenched the 
telephone from the grasp of the dead man, replacing it 
in its normal position. Only for a second did he 
pause to look at his victim as he destroyed the evidence 
of his work. 

Minutes were precious. First Dodge's pockets, 
then his desk engaged his attention. There was left 
the safe. 

As he approached the strong box, the master crim- 
inal took two vials from his pockets. Removing a 
bust of Shakespeare that stood on the safe, he poured 
the contents of the vials in two mixed masses of pow- 
der forming a heap on the safe, into which he inserted 
two magnesium wires. 

He lighted them, sprang back, hiding his eyes from 
the light, and a blinding gush of flame, lasting per- 
haps ten seconds, poured out from the top of the 
safe. 

It was not an explosion, but just a dazzling, intense 



14 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

flame that sizzled and crackled. It seemed impos- 
sible, but the glowing mass was literally sinking, sink- 
ing down into the cold steel. At last it burned 
through — as if the safe had been of tinder! 

Without waiting a moment longer than necessary, 
the masked criminal advanced again and actually put 
his hand down through the top of the safe, pulling out 
a bunch of papers. Quickly he thrust them all, with 
just a glance, into his pocket. 

Still working quickly, he took the bust of the great 
dramatist which he had removed and placed it un- 
der the light. Next from his pocket he drew two 
curious stencils, as it were, which he had apparently 
carefully prepared. With his hands, still carefully 
gloved, he rubbed the stencils on his hair, as if to 
cover them with a film of natural oils. Then he de- 
liberately pressed them over the statue in several 
places. It was a peculiar action and he seemed to 
fairly gloat over it when it was done, and the bust 
returned to its place, covering the hole. 

As noiselessly as he had come, he made his exit after 
one last malignant look at Dodge. It was now but 
the work of a moment to remove the wires he had 
placed, and climb out of the window, taking them 
and destroying the evidence down in the cellar. 

A low whistle from the masked crook, now again in 
the shadow, brought his pal stealthily to his side. 

" It's all right," he whispered hoarsely to the man. 
" Now, you attend to Limpy Red." 

The villainous looking pal nodded and without an- 
other word the two made their getaway, safely, in op- 
posite directions. 



THE CLUTCHING HAND 15 

When Limpy Red, still trembling, left the office of 
Dodge earlier in the evening, he had repaired as fast 
as his shambling feet would take him to his favorite 
dive upon Park Row. There he might have been 
seen drinking with any one who came along, for 
Limpy had money — blood money, — and the recollec- 
tion of his treachery and revenge must both be for- 
gotten and celebrated. 

Had the Bowery " sinkers '* not got into his eyes, 
he might have noticed among the late revellers, a man 
who spoke to no one but took his place nearby at the 
tar. 

Limpy had long since reached the point of satura- 
tion and, lurching forth from his new found cronies, 
he sought other fields of excitement. Likewise did 
the newcomer, who bore a strange resemblance to the 
look-out who had been stationed outside at the Dodge 
house a scant half hour before. 

What happened later was only a matter of seconds. 
It came when the hated snitch — for gangdom hates 
the informer worse than anything else dead or alive — 
had turned a sufficiently dark and deserted corner. 

A muffled thud, a stifled groan followed as a heavy 
section of lead pipe wrapped in a newspaper de- 
scended on the crass skull of Limpy. The wielder of 
the improvised but fatal weapon permitted himself 
the luxury of an instant's cruel smile — then vanished 
into the darkness leaving another complete job for 
the coroner and the morgue. 

It was the vengeance of the Clutching Hand — 
swift, sure, remorseless. 

And yet it had not been a night of complete suc- 
cess for the master criminal, as anyone might have 



i6 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

seen who could have followed his sinuous route to 
a place of greater safety. 

Unable to wait longer he pulled the papers he had 
taken from the safe from his pocket. His chagrin at 
finding them to be blank paper found only one expres- 
sion of foiled fury — that menacing clutching hand! 

Kennedy had turned from his futile examination 
for marks on the telephone. There stood the safe, a 
moderate sized strong box but of a modern type. He 
tried the door. It was locked. There was not a mark 
on it. The combination had not been tampered with. 
Nor had there been any attempt to " soup " the safe. 

With a quick motion he felt in his pocket as if look- 
ing for gloves. Finding none, he glanced about, and 
seized a pair of tongs from beside the grate. With 
them, in order not to confuse any possible finger prints 
on the bust, he lifted it off. 

I gave a gasp of surprise. 

There, in the top of the safe, yawned a gaping hole 
through which one could have thrust his arm ! 

'* What is it?" we asked, crowding about him. 

** Thermit," he replied laconically. 

*' Thermit?" I repeated. 

"Yes — a compound of iron oxide and powdered 
aluminum invented by a chemist at Essen, Germany. 
It gives a temperature of over five thousand degrees. 
It will eat its way through the strongest steel." 

Jennings, his mouth wide open with wonder, ad- 
vanced to take the bust from Kennedy. 

'' No — don't touch it," he waved him off, laying 
the bust on the desk. " I want no one to touch it — 
don't you see how careful I was to use the tongs that 



THE CLUTCHING HAND 17 

there might be no question about any clue this fellow 
may have left on the marble? " 

As he spoke, Craig was dusting over the surface 
of the bust with som.e black powder. 

*' Look ! " exclaimed Craig suddenly. 

We bent over. The black powder had in fact 
brought out strongly some peculiar, more or less regu- 
lar, black smudges. 

" Finger prints ! " I cried excitedly. 

" Yes," nodded Kennedy, studying them closely. 
" A clue — perhaps." 

" What — those little marks — a clue ? " asked a 
voice behind us. 

I turned and saw Elaine, looking over our shoul- 
ders, fascinated. It was evidently the first time she 
had realized that Kennedy was in the room. 

'* How can you tell anything by that?'" she asked. 

" Why, easily," he answered picking up a brass blot- 
ting-pad which lay on the desk. '' You see, I place 
my finger on this weight — so. I dust the powder 
over the mark — so. You could see it even without 
the powder on this glass. Do you see those lines? 
There are various types of markings — four general 
types — and each person's markings are different, even 
if of the same general type — loop, whorl, arch, or 
composite." 

He continued working as he talked. 

" Your thumb marks, for example. Miss Dodge, are 
different from mine. ]\Ir. Jameson's are different 
from both of us. And this fellow's finger prints are 
still different. It is mathematically impossible to find 
two alike in every respect." 



i8 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Kennedy was holding the brass blotter near the bust 
as he talked. 

I shall never forget the look of blank amazement 
on his face as he bent over closer. 

" My God ! " he exclaimed excitedly, *' this fellow 
is a master criminal! He has actually made stencils 
or something of the sort on which by some mechani- 
cal process he has actually forged the hitherto in- 
fallible finger prints ! " 

I, too, bent over and studied the marks on the bust 
and those Kennedy had made on the blotter to show 
Elaine. 

THE FINGER PRINTS ON THE BUST WERE 
KENNEDY'S OWN. 



CHAPTER II 

THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 

Kennedy had thrown himself wholeheartedly into 
the solution of the mytserious Dodge case. 

Far into the night, after the challenge of the forged 
finger print, he continued at work, endeavoring to 
extract a clue from the meagre evidence — the bit 
of cloth and trace of poison already obtained from 
other cases, and now added the strange succession of 
events that surrounded the tragedy we had just wit- 
nessed. 

We dropped around at the Dodge house the next 
morning. Early though it was, we found Elaine, a 
trifle paler but more lovely than ever, and Perry Ben- 




Ui^ 



THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 19 

nett themselves vainly endeavoring to solve the 
mystery of the Clutching Hand. 

They were at Dodge's desk, she in the big desk chair, 
he standing beside her, looking over some papers. 

'' There's nothing there,'' Bennett was saying as we 
entered. 

I could not help feeling that he was gazing down at 
Elaine a bit more tenderly than mere business war- 
ranted. 

'' Have you — found anything ? " queried Elaine 
anxiously, turning eagerly to Kennedy. 

" Nothing — yet," he answered shaking his head, but 
conveying a quiet idea of confidence in his tone. 

Just then Jennings, the butler, entered, bringing 
the morning papers. Elaine seized the Star and 
hastily opened it. On the first page was the story I 
had telephone down very late in the hope of catching 
a last city edition. 

We all bent over and Craig read aloud : 

'' CLUTCHING HAND " STILL AT LARGE 



NEW YORK S MASTER CRIMINAL REMAINS UN- 
DETECTED PERPETRATES NEW DARING 

MURDER AND ROBBERY OF MILLION- 
AIRE DODGE 

He had scarcely finished reading the brief but 
alarming news story that followed and laid the paper 
on the desk, when a stone came smashing through the 
window from the street. 

Startled, we all jumped to our feet. Craig hur- 
ried to the window. Not a soul was in sight ! 



20 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

He stooped and picked up the stone. To it was 
attached a piece of paper. Quickly he unfolded it and 
read: 

" Craig Kennedy will give up his search for the 
" Clutching Hand "— or die ! " 

Later I recalled that there seemed to be a slight 
noise downstairs, as if at the cellar window through 
which the masked man had entered the night before. 

In point of fact, one who had been outside at the 
time might actually have seen a sinister face at that 
cellar window, but to us upstairs it was invisible. The 
face was that of the servant, Michael. 

Without another word Kennedy passed into the 
drawing room and took his hat and coat. Both Elaine 
and Bennett followed. 

*' I'm afraid I must ask you to excuse me — for the 
present,'' Craig apologized. 

Elaine looked at him anxiously. 

" You — you will not let that letter intimidate 
you?" she pleaded, laying her soft white hand on his 
arm. *' Oh, Mr. Kennedy," she added, bravely keep- 
ing back the tears, '* avenge him ! All the money in 
the world would be too little to pay — if only — " 

At the mere mention of money Kennedy's face 
seemed to cloud, but only for a moment. He must 
have felt the confiding pressure of her hand, for as 
she paused, appealingly, he took her hand in his, bow- 
ing slightly over it to look closer into her upturned 
face. 

" I'll try," he said simply. 

Elaine did not withdraw her hand as she continued 



THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 21 

to look up at him. Craig looked at her, as I had never 
seen him look at a woman before in all our long ac- 
quaintance. 

'' Miss Dodge/' he went on, his voice steady as 
though he were repressing something, '' I will never 
take another case until the ' Clutching Hand ' is cap- 
tured." 

The look of gratitude she gave him would have 
been a princely reward in itself. 

I did not marvel that all the rest of that day and 
far into the night Kennedy was at work furiously in 
his laboratory, studying the notes, the texture of the 
paper, the character of the ink, everything that might 
perhaps suggest a new lead. It was all, apparently, 
however, without result. 

It was some time after these events that Kennedy, 
reconstructing what had happened, ran across, in a 
strange way which I need not tire the reader by telling, 
a Dr. Ha}mes, head of the Hillside Sanitarium for 
Women, whose story^ I shall relate substantially as w^e 
received it from his own lips : 

It must have been that same night that a distin- 
guished visitor drove up in a cab to our Hillside Sani- 
tarium, rang the bell and was admitted to my office. 
I might describe him as a moderately tall, well-built 
man with a pleasing way about him. Chiefly notice- 
able, it seems to me, w^ere his mustache and bushy 
beard, quite medical and foreign. 

I am, by the way, the superintending physician, and 
that night I was sitting with Dr. Thompson, my as- 
sistant, in the office discussing a rather interesting case, 
w^hen an attendant came in with a card and handed it 



22 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

to me. It read simply, " Dr. Ludwig Reinstrom, 
Coblenz." 

'' Here's that Dr. Reinstrom, Thompson, about 
whom my friend in Germany wrote the other day/' I 
remarked, nodding to the attendant to admit Dr. 
Reinstrom. 

I might explain that while I was abroad some time 
ago, I made a particular study of the " Daemmer- 
schlaf " — otherwise, the " twilight sleep," at Freiburg 
where it was developed and at other places in Ger- 
many where the subject had attracted great attention. 
I was much impressed and had imported the treat- 
ment to Hillside. 

While we waited I reached into my desk and drew 
out the letter to which I referred, which ended, I re- 
call: 

'* As Dr. Reinstrom is in America, he will probably 
call on you. I am sure you will be glad to know him. 
" With kindest regards, I am, 

" Fraternally yours, 

" Emil Schwarz, M. D., 
" Director, Leipsic Institute of Medicine." 

" Most happy to meet you. Dr. Reinstrom," I 
greeted the new arrival, as he entered our office. 

For several minutes we sat and chatted of things 
medical here and abroad. 

" What is it. Doctor," I asked finally, " that inter- 
ests you most in America ? " 

*' Oh," he replied quickly with an expressive ges- 
ture, '^ it is the broadmindedness with which you adopt 
the best from all over the world, regardless of preju- 
dice. For instance, I am very much interested in the 



THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 23 

new twilight sleep. Of course you have borrowed it 
largely from us, but it interests me to see whether you 
have modified it with practice. In fact I have come 
to the Hillside Sanitarium particularly to see it used. 
Perhaps we may learn something from you.'' 

It was most gracious and both Dr. Thompson and 
myself were charmed by our visitor. I reached over 
and touched a call-button and our head nurse entered 
from a rear room. 

** Are there any operations going on now ? " I asked. 

She looked mechanically at her watch. *' Yes, there 
are two cases, now, I think," she answered. 

" Would you like to follow our technique, Doctor ? '' 
I asked, turning to Dr. Reinstorm. 

*^ I should be delighted," he acquiesced. 

A moment later we passed down the corridor of the 
Sanitarium, still chatting. At the door of a ward I 
spoke to the attendant who indicated that a patient w^as 
about to be anesthetized, and Reinstrom and I entered 
the room. 

There, in perfect quiet, which is an essential part 
of the treatment, were several women patients lying 
in bed in the ward. Before us two nurses and a 
doctor were in attendance on one. 

I spoke to the Doctor, Dr. Holmes, by the way, who 
bowed politely to the distinguished Dr. Reinstrom, 
then turned quickly to his w^ork. 

*' Miss Sears," he asked of one of the nurses, '' will 
you bring me that hypodermic needle? How are you 
getting on, Miss Stern ? " to the other who was scrub- 
bing the patient's arm with antiseptic soap and water, 
thoroughly sterilizing the skin. 

"You will see. Dr. Reinstrom," I interposed in a 



24 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

low tone, '* that we follow in the main your Freiburg 
treatment. We use scopolamin and narkophin." 

I held up the bottle, as I said it, a rather peculiar 
shaped bottle, too. 

'' And the pain ? " he asked. 

'' Practically the same as in your experience abroad. 
We do not render the patient unconscious, but pre- 
vent her from remembering anything that goes on." 

Dr. Holmes, the attending physician, was just start- 
ing the treatment. Filling his hypodermic, he selected 
a spot on the patient's arm^ where it had been scrubbed 
and sterilized, and injected the narcotic. 

" How simply you do it all, here ! " exclaimed Rein- 
strom in surprise and undisguised admiration. *' You 
Americans are wonderful ! " 

"Come — see a patient who is just recovering,'* I 
added, much flattered by the praise, which, from a 
German physician, meant much. 

Reinstrom followed me out of the door and we 
entered a private room of the hospital where an- 
other woman patient lay in bed carefully watched by 
a nurse. 

'' How do you do ? " I nodded to the nurse in a 
modulated tone. '' Everything progressing favor- 
ably?'' 

" Perfectly," she returned, as Reinstrom, Haynes 
and myself formed a little group about the bedside of 
the unconscious woman. 

"And you say they have no recollection of any- 
thing that happens ? " asked Reinstrom. 

" Absolutely none — if the treatment is given prop- 
erly," I replied confidently. 

I picked up a piece of bandage which was the hand- 



THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 25 

iest thing about me and tied it quite tightly about the 
patient's arm. 

As we waited, the patient, who was gradually com- 
ing from under the drug, roused herself. 

" What is that — it hurts ! " she said putting her 
hand on the bandage I had tied tightly. 

'' That is all right. Just a moment. I'll take it off. 
Don't you remember it? " I asked. 

She shook her head. I smiled at Reinstrom. 

" You see, she has no recollection of my t}'ing the 
bandage on her arm," I pointed out. 

''Wonderful! " ejaculated Reinstrom as wt left the 
room. 

All the way back to the office he was loud in his 
praises and thanked us most heartily, as he put on his 
hat and coat and shook hands a cordial good-bye. 

Now comes the strange part of my story. After 
Reinstrom had gone. Dr. Holmes, the attending phy- 
sician of the woman whom we had seen anesthetized, 
missed his syringe and the bottle of scopolamine. 

'' Miss Sears," he asked rather testily, '' what have 
you done with the hypodermic and the scopolamine ? " 

" Nothing," she protested. 

" You must have done something." 

She repeated that she had not. 

" Well, it is very strange then," he said, '' I am posi- 
tive I laid the syringe and the bottle right here on this 
tray on the table." 

Holmes, iliss Sears and Miss Stern all hunted, but 
it could not be found. Others had to be procured. 

I thought little of it at the time, but since then it 
has occurred to me that it might interest you. Pro- 



26 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

fessor Kennedy, and I give it to you for what it may 
be worth. 

It was early the next morning that I awoke to find 
Kennedy already up and gone from our apartment. I 
knew he must be at the laboratory, and, gathering the 
mail, which the postman had just slipped through the 
letter slot, I went over to the University to see him. 
As I looked over the letters to cull out my own, one 
in a woman's handwriting on attractive notepaper ad- 
dressed to him caught my eye. 

As I came up the path to the Chemistry Building I 
saw through the window that, in spite of his getting 
there early, he was finding it difficult to keep his mind 
on his work. It was the first time I had ever known 
anything to interfere with science in his life. 

I thought of the letter again. 

Craig had lighted a Bunsen burner under a large 
glass retort. But he had no sooner done so than he 
sat down on a chair and, picking up a book which I 
surmised might be some work on toxicology, started 
to read. 

He seemed not to be able, for the moment, to con- 
centrate his mind and after a little while closed the 
book and gazed straight ahead of him. Again I 
thought of the letter, and the vision that, no doubt, he 
saw of Elaine making her pathetic appeal for his help. 

As he heard my footstep in the hall, it must have re- 
called him for he snapped the book shut and moved 
over quickly to the retort. 

'' Well," I exclaimed as I entered, '' you are the 
early bird. Did you have any breakfast ? " 

I tossed down the letters. He did not reply. So 



THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 27 

I became absorbed in the morning paper. Still, I did 
not neglect to watch him covertly out of the corner 
of my eye. Quickly he ran over the letters, instead 
of taking them, one by one, in his usual methodical 
way. I quite complimented my own superior acumen. 
He selected the dainty note. 

A moment Craig looked at it in anticipation, then 
tore it open eagerly. I was still watching his face 
over the top of the paper and was surprised to see 
that it showed, first, amazement, then pain, as though 
something had hurt him. 

He read it again — then looked straight ahead, as 
if in a daze. 

'* Strange, how much crime there is now,'* I com- 
mented, looking up from the paper I had pretended 
reading. 

No answer. 

*^ One would think that one master criminal was 
enough," I went on. 

Still no answer. 

He continued to gaze straight ahead at blankness. 

'* By George," I exclaimed finally, banging my fist 
on the table and raising my voice to catch his atten- 
tion, '' you would think we had nothing but criminals 
nowadays." 

My voice must have startled him. The usually im- 
perturbable old fellow actually jumped. Then, as my 
question did not evidently accord with what was in 
his mind, he answered at random, ^' Perhaps — I won- 
der if — ^' and then he stopped, noncommittally. 

Suddenly he jumped up, bringing his tightly clenched 
fist down with a loud clap into the palm of his hand. 

'' By heaven ! " he exclaimed, " I — I will ! " 



28 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Startled at his incomprehensible and unusual con- 
duct I did not attempt to pursue the conversation but 
let him alone as he strode hastily to the telephone. 
Almost angrily he seized the receiver and asked for a 
number. It was not like Craig and I could not con- 
ceal my concern. 

''Wh-what's the matter, Craig?" I blurted out 
eagerly. 

As he waited for the number, he threw the letter 
over to me. I took it and read : 

^' Professor Craig Kennedy, 

'' The University, The Heights, City. 
"Dear Sir,— 

'' I have come to the conclusion that your work is a 
hindrance rather than an assistance in clearing up my 
father's death and I hereby beg to^'state that your 
services are no longer required. This is a final de- 
cision and I beg that you will not try to see me again 
regarding the matter. 

" Very truly yours, 
" Elaine Dodge/' 

If it had been a bomb I could not have been more 
surprised. A moment before I think I had just a 
sneaking suspicion of jealousy that a woman — even 
Elaine — should interest my old chums. But now all 
that was swept away. How could any woman scorn 
him? 

I could not make it out. 

Kennedy impatiently worked the receiver up and 
down, repeating the number. *' Hello — hello," he 
repeated, " Yes — hello. Is Miss — oh — good morn- 
ing, Miss Dodge." 



THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 29 

He was hurrying along as if to give her no chance 
to cut him off. '* I have just received a letter, Miss 
Dodge, telling me that you don't want me to continue 
investigating your father's death, and not to try to 
see you again about — " 

He stopped. I could hear the reply, as sometimes 
one can when the telephone wire conditions are a cer- 
tain way and the quality of the voice of the speaker a 
certain kind. 

'^ Why — no — Mr. Kennedy, I have written you no 
letter." 

The look of mingled relief and surprise that crossed 
Craig's face spoke volumes. 

" Miss Dodge," he almost shouted, '' this is a new 
trick of the Clutching Hand. I — I'll be right over." 

Craig hung up the receiver and turned from the 
telephone. Evidently he was thinking deeply. Sud- 
denly his face seemed to light up. He made up his 
mind to something and a moment later he opened the 
cabinet — that inexhaustible storehouse from which 
he seemed to draw weird and curious instruments that 
met the ever new problems which his strange pro- 
fession brought to him. 

I watched curiously. He took out a bottle and what 
looked like a little hypodermic syringe, thrust them 
into his pocket and, for once, oblivious to my very ex- 
istence, deliberately walked out of the laboratory. 

I did not propose to be thus cavalierly dismissed. I 
suppose it would have looked ridiculous to a third 
party but I followed him as hastily as if he had tried 
to shut the door on his own shadow. 

We arrived at the corner above the Dodge house 
just in time to see another visitor — Bennett — enter. 



30 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Craig quickened his pace. Jennings had by this time 
become quite reconciled to our presence and a mo- 
ment later we were entering the drawing room, too. 

Elaine was there, looking loveHer than ever in the 
plain black dress, which set off the rosy freshness of 
her face. 

'* And, Perry," we heard her say, as we were ush- 
ered in, ''someone has even forged my name — the 
handwriting and everything — telling Mr. Kennedy to 
drop the case — and I never knew." 

She stopped as we entered. We bowed and shook 
hands with Bennett. Elaine's Aunt Josephine was in 
the room, a perfect duenna. 

'That's the limit!" exclaimed Bennett. ''Miss 
Dodge has just been telling me, — " 

" Yes," interrupted Craig. " Look, Miss Dodge, 
this is it." 

He handed her the letter. She almost seized it, ex- 
amining it carefully, her large eyes opening wider in 
wonder. 

" This is certainly my writing and my notepaper," 
she murmured, " but I never wrote the letter ! " 

Craig looked from the letter to her keenly. No one 
said a word. For a moment Kennedy hesitated, 
thinking. 

" Might I — er — see your room. Miss Dodge ? " he 
asked at length. 

Aunt Josephine frowned. Bennett and I could not 
conceal our surprise. 

" Why, certainly," nodded Elaine, as she led the 
way upstairs. 

It was a dainty little room, breathing the spirit of 
its mistress. In fact it seemed a sort of profanation 



THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 31 

as we all followed in after her. For a moment Ken- 
nedy stood still, then he carefully looked about. At 
the side of the bed, near the head, he stooped and 
picked up something which he held in the palm of his 
hand. I bent over. Something gleamed in the morn- 
ing sunshine — some little thin pieces of glass. As 
he tried deftly to fit the tiny little bits together, he 
seemed absorbed in thought. Quickly he raised it to 
his nose, as if to smell it. 

'' Ethyl chloride ! " he muttered, wrapping the pieces 
carefully in a paper and putting them into his pocket. 

An instant later he crossed the room to the window 
and examined it. 

" Look ! " he exclaimed. 

There, plainly, were marks of a jimmy w^hich had 
been inserted near the lock to ipry it open. 

" Miss Dodge," he asked, " might I — might I trou- 
ble you to let me see your arm ? " 

Wonderingly she did so and Kennedy bent almost 
reverently over her plump arm examining it. 

On it was a small dark discoloration, around which 
w^as a slight redness and tenderness. 

*' That," he said slowly, '' is the mark of a hypo- 
dermic needle." 

As he finished examining Elaine's arm he drew the 
letter from his pocket. Still facing her he said in a 
low tone, '' ]\Iiss Dodge — you did write this letter — 
but under the influence of the new ' twilight sleep.' " 

We looked at one another amazed. 

Outside, if we had been at the door in the hallway, 
we might have seen the sinister-faced Michael listen- 
ing. He turned and slipped quietly away. 



32 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" Why, Craig/' I exclaimed excitedly, '' what do 
you mean ? " 

" Exactly what I say. With Miss Dodge's permis- 
sion I shall show you. By a small administration of 
the drug which will injure you in no way, Miss Dodge, 
I think I can bring back the memory of all that oc- 
curred to you last night. Will you allow me? " 

*' Mercy, no ! " protested Aunt Josephine. 

Craig and Elaine faced each other as they had the 
day before when she had asked him whether the sud- 
den warning of the Clutching Hand would intimidate 
him. She advanced a step nearer. Elaine trusted 
.him. 

" Elaine ! " protested Aunt Josephine again. 

" I want the experiment to be tried,'' she said 
quietly. 

A moment later Kennedy had placed her in a wing 
chair in the comer of the room. 

'' Now, Mrs. Dodge," he said, " please bring me a 
basin and a towel." 

Aunt Josephine, reconciled, brought them. Ken- 
nedy dropped an antiseptic tablet into the water and 
carefully sterilized Elaine's arm just above the spot 
where the red mark showed. Then he drew the hypo- 
dermic from his pocket — carefully sterilizing it, also, 
and filling it with scopolamine from the bottle. 

'' Just a moment, Miss Dodge," he encouraged as 
he jabbed the needle into her arm. 

She did not wince. 

" Please He back on the couch," he directed. Then 
turning to us he added, '* It takes some time for this 
to work. Our criminal got over that fact and pre- 



THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 33 

vented an outcry by using ethyl chloride first. Let 
me reconstruct the scene/' 

As we watched Elaine going under slowly, Craig 
talked. 

" That night," he said, " warily, the masked crim- 
inal of the Clutching Hand might have been seen 
down below us in the alley. Up here. Miss Dodge, 
worn out by the strain of her father's death, let us 
say, was nervously trying tc read, to do anything that 
would take her mind off the tragedy. Perhaps she 
fell asleep. 

'' Just then the Clutching Hand appeared. He 
came stealthily through that window which he had 
opened. A moment he hesitated, seeing Elaine asleep. 
Then he tiptoed over to the bed, let us say, and for a 
moment looked at her, sleeping. 

" A second later he had thrust his hand into his 
pocket and had taken out a small glass bulb with a long 
thin neck. That was ethyl chloride, a drug which 
produces a quick anesthesia. But it lasts only a min- 
ute or two. That was enough, As he broke the glass 
neck of the bulb — letting the pieces fall on the floor 
near the bed — he shoved the thing under Elaine's 
face, turning his own head away and holding a hand- 
kerchief over his own nose. The mere heat of his 
hand was enough to cause the ethyl chloride to spray 
out and overcome her instantly. He stepped away 
from her a moment and replaced the now empty vial 
in his pocket. 

" Then he took a box from his pocket, opened it. 
There must have been a syringe and a bottle of 
scopolamine. Where they came from I do not know, 
but perhaps from some hospital. I shall have to find 



34 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

that out later. He went to Elaine, quickly jabbing 
the needle, with no resistance from her now. Slowly 
he replaced the bottle and the needle in his pocket. 
He could not have been in any hurry now, for it takes 
time for the drug to work." 

Kennedy paused. Had we known at the time, Mi- 
chael — he of the sinister face — must have been in 
the hallway, careful that no one saw him. A tap at 
the door and the Clutching Hand, that night, must 
have beckoned him. A moment's parley and they 
separated — Clutching Hand going back to Elaine, 
who was now under the influence of the second drug. 

'* Our criminal,'' resumed Kennedy thoughtfully, 
*' may have shaken Elaine. She did not answer. Then 
he may have partly revived her. She must have been 
startled. Clutching Hand, perhaps, was half crouch- 
ing, with a big ugly blue steel revolver leveled full in 
her face. 

" ' One word and I shoot ! ' he probably cried. " Get 
up!' 

" Trembling, she must have done so. ' Your slip- 
pers and a kimono,' he would naturally have ordered. 
She put them on mechanically. Then he must have 
ordered her to go out of the door and down the stairs. 
Clutching Hand must have followed and as he did so 
he would have cautiously put out the lights." 

We were following, spell-bound, Kennedy's graphic 
reconstruction of what must have happened. Evi- 
dently he had struck close to the truth. Elaine's eyes 
were closed. Gently Kennedy led her along. *' Now, 
Miss Dodge," he encouraged, '' try — try hard to 
recollect just what it was that happened last night — 
everything." 



THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 35 

As Kennedy paused after his quick recital, she 
seemed to tremble all over. Slowly she began to speak. 
We stood awestruck. Kennedy had been right ! 

The girl was now living over again those minutes 
that had been forgotten — blotted out by the drug. 

And it was all real to her, too, — terribly real. She 
was speaking, plainly in terror. 

'' I see a man — oh, such a figure — with a mask. 
He holds a gun in my face — he threatens me. I put 
on my kimono and slippers, as he tells me. I am in a 
daze. I know what I am doing — and I don't know. 
I go out with him, downstairs, into the library." 

Elaine shuddered again at the recollection. '' Ugh ! 
The room is dark, the room where he killed my father. 
Moonlight outside streams in. This masked man and 
I come in. He switches on the lights. 

'* * Go to the safe,' he says, and I do it, the new 
safe, you know. 'Do you know the combination?' 
he asks me. * Yes,' I reply, too frightened to say no. 

" ' Open it then,' he says, waving that awful re- 
volver closer. I do so. Hastily he rummages through 
it, throwing papers here and there. But he seems not 
to find what he is after and turns away, swearing fear- 
fully. 

" * Hang it ! ' he cries to me. * Where else did your 
father keep papers ? ' I point in desperation at the 
desk. He takes one last look at the safe, shoves all 
the papers he has strewn on the floor back again and 
slams the safe shut. 

" ' Now, come on ! ' he says, indicating with the gun 
that he wants me to follow him away from the Safe. 
At the desk he repeats the search. But he finds noth- 
ing. Almost I think he is about to kill me. ' Where 



36 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

else did your father keep papers ? ' he hisses fiercely, 
still threatening me with the gun. 

*' I am too frightened to speak. But at last I am 
able to say, * I — I don't know ! ' Again he threat- 
ens me. ' As God is my judge,' I cry, ' I don't know.' 
It is fearful. Will he shoot me? 

*' Thank heaven ! At last he believes me. But 
such a look of foiled fury I have never seen on any 
human face before. 

'' ' Sit down ! ' he growls, adding, ' at the desk.' 
I do. 

*' ' Take some of your notepaper — the best.' I 
do that, too. 

" ' And a pen,' he goes on. My fingers can hardly 
hold it. 

" ^ Now — write ! ' he says, and as he dictates, I 
write — " 

^^This?" interjected Kennedy, eagerly holding up 
the letter that he had received from her. 

Elaine looked it over with her drug-laden eyes. 
*' Yes," she nodded, then lapsed again to the scene 
itself. ** He reads it over and as he does so says, 
^ Now, address an envelope.' Himself he folds the 
letter, seals the envelope, stamps it, and drops it into 
his pocket, hastily straightening the desk. 

'^ ^ Now, go ahead of me — again. Leave the room 
— no, by the hall door. We are going back upstairs.' 
I obey him, and at the door he switches off the lights. 
How I stand it, I don't know. I go upstairs, mechan- 
ically, into my own room — I and this masked man. 

" ' Take oflf the kimono and slippers ! ' he orders. 
I do that. ^ Get into bed ! ' he growls. I crawl in 
fearfully. For a moment he looks about, — then goes 







o 



THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 37 

out — with a look back as he goes. Oh ! Oh ! That 
hand — which he raises at me — that hand ! ^' 

The poor girl was sitting bolt upright, staring 
straight at the hall door, as we watched and listened, 
fascinated. 

Kennedy was bending over, soothing her. She gave 
evidences of coming out from the effect of the drug. 

I noticed that Bennett had suddenly moved a step 
in the direction of the door at which she stared. 

'' My God ! '' he muttered, staring, too. '' Look ! '' 

We did look. A letter was slowly being inserted 
under the door. 

I took a quick step forward. That moment I felt 
a rough tug at my arm, and a voice whispered, "' Wait 
— you chump ! " 

It was Kennedy. He had whipped out his auto- 
matic and had carefully leveled it at the door. Be- 
fore he could fire, however, Bennett had rushed ahead. 

I followed. We looked down the hall. Sure 
enough, the figure of a man could be seen disappear- 
ing around an angle. I followed Bennett out of the 
door and down the hall. 

Words cannot keep pace with what followed. To- 
gether we rushed to the backstairs. 

" Down there, while I go down the front ! " cried 
Bennett. 

I went down and he turned and went down the other 
flight. As he did so, Craig followed him. 

Suddenly, in the drawing room, I bumped into a fig- 
ure on the other side of the portieres. I seized him. 
We struggled. Rip ! The portieres came down, cov- 
ering me entirely. Over and over we went, smashing 



38 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

a lamp. It was vicious. Another man attacked me, 
too. 

"I — I 've got him — Kennedy ! " I heard a voice 
pant over me. 

A scream followed from Aunt Josephine. Sud- 
denly the portieres were pulled off me. 

'' The deuce ! " puffed Kennedy. '* It's Jameson ! " 

Bennett had rushed plump into me, coming the other 
way, hidden by the portieres. 

If we had known at the time, our Michael of the 
sinister face had gained the library and was standing 
in the center of the room. He had heard me coming 
and had fled to the drawing room. As we finished our 
struggle in the library, he rose hastily from behind the 
divan in the other room where he had dropped and 
had quietly and hastily disappeared through another 
door. 

Laughing and breathing hard, they helped me to my 
feet. It was no joke to me. I was sore in every 
bone. 

" Well, where did he go ? " insisted Bennett. 

" I don't know — perhaps back there," I cried. 

Bennett and I argued a moment, then started and 
stopped short. Aunt Josephine had run downstairs 
and now was shoving the letter into Craig's hands. 

We gathered about him, curiously. He opened it. 
On it was that awesome Clutching Hand again. 

Kennedy read it. For a moment he stood and 
studied it, then slowly crushed it in his hand. 

Just then Elaine, pale and shaken from the ordeal 
she had voluntarily gone through, burst in upon us 
from upstairs. Without a word she advanced to Craig 
and took the letter from him. 



THE TWILIGHT SLEEP 39 

Inside, as on the envelope, was that same signature 
of the Clutching Hand. 

Elaine gazed at it wild-eyed, then at Craig. Craig 
smilingly reached for the note, took it, folded it and 
unconcernedly thrust it into his pocket. 

'' My God ! " she cried, clasping her hands convul- 
sively and repeating the words of the letter. " Your 

LAST WARNING ! " 



CHAPTER III 

THE VANISHING JEWELS 

Banging away at my typewriter, the next day, in 
Kennedy's laboratory, I was startled by the sudden, 
insistent ringing of the telephone near me. 

'' Hello," I answered, for Craig was at work at his 
table, trying still to extract some clue from the slender 
evidence thus far elicited in the Dodge mystery. 

'' Oh, Mr. Kennedy," I heard an excited voice over 
the wire reply, '* my friend, Susie Martin is here. 
Her father has just received a message from that 
Clutching Hand and — " 

" Just a moment, Miss Dodge," I interrupted. "This 
is Mr. Jameson." 

'* Oh ! " came back the voice, breathless and disap- 
pointed. '' Let me have Mr. Kennedy — quick." 

I had already passed the telephone to Craig and was 
watching him keenly as he listened over it. The an- 
ticipation of a message from Elaine did not fade, yet 
his face grew grave as he listened. 

He motioned to me for a pad and pencil that lay 
near me. 



40 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" Please read the letter again, slower, Miss Dodge," 
he asked, adding, " There isn't time for me to see it 

— just yet. But I want it exactly. You say it is 
made up of separate words and type cut from news- 
papers and pasted on note paper ? " 

I handed him paper and pencil. 
'' All right now. Miss Dodge, go ahead." 
As he wrote, he indicated to me by his eyes that he 
wanted me to read. I did so : 

" Sturtevant Martin, Jeweler, 
" 7391/2 Fifth Ave., 
" New York City. 
^'Sir: 

*' As you have failed to deliver the $10,000, I shall 
rob your main diamond case at exactly noon today." 

" Thank you. Miss Dodge," continued Kennedy, 
laying down the pencil. " Yes, I understand perfectly 

— signed by that same Clutching Hand. Let me see," 
he pondered, looking at his watch. " It is now just 
about half past eleven. Very well. I shall meet you 
and Miss Martin at Mr. Martin's store directly." 

It lacked five minutes of noon when Kennedy and 
I dashed up before Martin's and dismissed our taxi- 
cab. 

A remarkable scene greeted us as we entered the 
famous jewelry shop. Involuntarily I drew back. 
Squarely in front of us a man had suddenly raised a 
revolver and leveled it at us. 

" Don't ! " cried a familiar voice. '' That is Mr. 
Kennedy ! " 

Just then, from a little knot of people, Elaine Dodge 
sprang forward with a cry and seized the gun. 



THE VANISHING JEWELS 41 

Kennedy turned to her, apparently not half so much 
concerned about the automatic that yawned at him as 
about the anxiety of the pretty girl who had inter- 
vened. The too eager plainclothesman lowered the 
gun sheepishly. 

Sturtevant Martin was a typical society business 
man, quietly but richly dressed. He was inclined to 
be pompous and affected a pair of rather distinguished 
looking side whiskers. 

In the excitement I glanced about hurriedly. 
There were two or three policemen in the shop and 
several plainclothesmen, some armed with formidable 
looking sawed-off shot guns. 

Directly in front of me was a sign, tacked up on a 
pillar, which read, '' This store will be closed at noon 
today. Martin & Co." 

All the customers were gone. In fact the clerks 
had had some trouble in clearing the shop, as many of 
them expressed not only surprise but exasperation at 
the proceeding. Nevertheless the clerks had politely 
but insistently ushered them out. 

Martin himself was evidently very nervous and very 
much alarmed. Indeed no one could blame him for 
that. Merely to have been singled out by this amazing 
master criminal was enough to cause panic. Already 
he had engaged detectives, prepared for whatever might 
happen, and they had advised him to leave the dia- 
monds in the counter, clear the store, and let the crooks 
try anything, if they dared. 

I fancied that he was somewhat exasperated at his 
daughter's presence, too, but could see that her ex- 
planation of Elaine's and Perry Bennett's interest in 
the Clutching Hand had considerably moUified him. 



42 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

He had been talking with Bennett as we came in and 
evidently had a high respect for the young lawyer. 

Just back of us, and around the comer, as we came 
in, we had noticed a limousine which had driven up. 
Three faultlessly attired dandies had entered a door- 
way down the street, as we learned afterwards, appar- 
ently going to a fashionable tailor's which occupied 
the second floor of the old-fashioned building, the first 
floor having been renovated and made ready for rent- 
ing. Had we been there a moment sooner we might 
have seen, I suppose, that one of them nodded to a 
taxicab driver who was standing at a public hack 
stand a few feet up the block. The driver nodded 
unostentatiously back to the men. 

In spite of the excitement, Kennedy quietly exam- 
ined the show case, which was, indeed, a veritable 
treasure store of brilliants. Then with a keen scru- 
tinizing glance he looked over the police and detectives 
gathered around. There was nothing to do now but 
wait, as the detectives had advised. 

I looked at a large antique grandfather's clock which 
was standing nearby. It now lacked scarcely a minute 
of twelve. 

Slowly the hands of the clock came nearer together 
at noon. 

We all gathered about the show case with its glit- 
tering hoard of wealth, forming a circle at a respectful 
distance. 

Martin pointed nervously at the clock. 

In deep-lunged tones the clock played the chords 
written. I believe, by Handel. Then it began striking. 

As it did so, Martin involuntarily counted off the 



THE VANISHING JEWELS 43 

strokes, while one of the plainclothesmen waved his 
shotgun in unison. 

Martin finished counting. 

Nothing had happened. 

We all breathed a sigh of relief. 

" Well, it is still there ! " exclaimed Martin, pointing 
at the show-case, with a forced laugh. 

Suddenly came a rending and crashing sound. It 
seemed as if the very floor on which we stood was giv- 
ing way. 

The show-case, with all its priceless contents, went 
smashing down into the cellar below. 

The flooring beneath the case had been cut through ! 

All crowded forward, gazing at the black yawning 
cavern. A moment we hesitated, then gingerly craned 
our necks over the edge. 

Down below, three men, covered with linen dusters 
and their faces hidden by masks, had knocked the 
props away from the ceiling of the cellar, which they 
had sawed almost through at their leisure, and the 
show case had landed eight or ten feet below, shivered 
into a thousand bits. 

A volley of shots whizzed past us, and another. 
While one crook was hastily stuffing the untold wealth 
of jewels into a burlap bag, the others had drawn re- 
volvers and were firing up through the hole in the 
floor, desperately. 

Martin, his detectives, and the rest of us fell back 
from the edge of the chasm hastily, to keep out of 
range of the hail of bullets. 

'* Look out ! " cried someone behind us, before we 
could recover from our first surprise and return the 
fire. 



44 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

One of the desperadoes had taken a bomb from 
under his duster, lighted it, and thrown it up through 
the hole in the floor. 

It sailed up over our heads and landed near our little 
group on the floor, the fuse sputtering ominously. 

Quickly we divided and backed away even further. 

I heard an exclamation of fear from Elaine. 

Kennedy had pushed his way past us and picked 
up the deadly infernal machine in his bare hands. 

I watched him, fascinated. As near as he dared, 
he approached the hole in the floor, still holding the 
thing off at arm's length. Would he never throw it? 

He was coolly holding it, allowing the fuse to burn 
down closer to the explosion point. 

It was now within less than an inch sure death. 

Suddenly he raised it and hurled the deadly thing 
down through the hole. 

We could hear the imprecations of the crooks as it 
struck the cellar floor, near them. They had evidently 
been still cramming jewelry into the capacious maw 
of the bag. One of them, discovering the bomb, must 
have advanced toward it, then retreated when he saw 
how imminent was the explosion. 

" Leave the store — quick ! " rang out Kennedy's 
voice. 

We backed away as fast as those behind us would 
permit. Kennedy and Bennett were the last to leave, 
in fact paused at the door. 

Down below the crooks were beating a hasty retreat 
through a secret entrance which they had effected. 

*' The bag ! The bag ! " we could hear one of them 
bellow. 



THE VANISHING JEWELS 45 

" The bomb — run ! " cried another voice gruffly. 

A second later came an ominous silence. The last 
of the three must have fled. 

The explosion that followed lifted us fairly ofif our 
feet. A great puflF of smoke came belching up through 
the hole, followed by the crashing of hundreds of dol- 
lars' worth of glass ware in the jewelry shop as frag- 
ments of stone, brick and mortar and huge splinters 
of wood were flung with tremendous force in every 
direction from the miniature volcano. 

As the smoke from the explosion cleared away, Ken- 
nedy could be seen, the first to run forward. 

Meanwhile Martin's detectives had rushed down 
a flight of back stairs that led into a coal cellar. With 
coal shovels and bars, anything they could lay hands 
on, they attacked the door that opened forward from 
the coal cellar into the front basement where the rob- 
bers had been. 

A moment Kennedy and Bennett paused on the 
brink of the abyss which the bomb had made, waiting 
for the smoke to decrease. Then they began to climb 
down cautiously over the piled up wreckage. 

The explosion had set the basement afire, but the 
iire had not gained much headway, by the time they 
reached the basement. Quickly Kennedy ran to the 
door into the coal cellar and opened it. 

From the other side, Martin, followed by the police 
and the detectives, burst in. 

*' Fire ! " cried one of the policemen, leaping back 
to turn in an alarm from the special apparatus up- 
stairs. 

All except Martin began beating out the flames, 



46 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

using such weapons as they already held in their hands 
to batter down the door. 

To Martin there was one thing paramount — the 
jewels. 

In the midst of the confusion, Elaine, closely fol- 
lowed by her friend Susie, made her way fearlessly 
into the stifle of smoke down the stairs. 

'' There are your jewels, Mr. Martin," cried Ken- 
nedy, kicking the precious burlap bag with his foot 
as if it had been so much ordinary merchandise, and 
turning toward what was in his mind the most impor- 
tant thing at stake — the direction taken by the agents 
of the Clutching Hand. 

*' Thank heaven!" ejaculated Martin, fairly pounc- 
ing on the bag and tearing it open. " They didn't get 
away with them — after all ! " he exclaimed, examining 
the contents with satisfaction. '* See — you must have 
frightened them off at just the right moment when 
you sent the bomb back at them." 

Elaine and Susie pressed forward eagerly as he 
poured forth the sparkling stream of gems, intact. 

'* Wasn't he just simply wonderful ! " I heard Susie 
whisper to Elaine. 

Elaine did not answer. She had eyes or ears for 
nothing now in the melee but Kennedy. 

Events were moving rapidly. 

The limousine had been standing innocently enough 
at the curb near the corner, with the taxicab close be- 
hind it. 

Less than ten minutes after they had entered, three 
well-dressed men came out of the vacant shop, appar- 



THE VANISHING JEWELS 47 

ently from the tailor's above, and climbed leisurely 
into their car. 

As the last one entered, he half turned to the taxicab 
driver, hiding from passers-by the sign of the Clutch- 
ing Hand which the taxicab driver returned, in the 
same manner. Then the big car whirled up the avenue. 

All this we learned later from a street sweeper who 
was at work nearby. 

Down below, while the police and detectives were 
putting out the fire, Kennedy was examining the wall 
of the cellar, looking for the spot where the crooks 
had escaped. 

" A secret door ! " he exclaimed, as he paused after 
tapping along the wall to determine its character. 
" You can see how the force of the explosion has 
loosened it." 

Sure enough, when he pointed it out to us, it was 
plainly visible. One of the detectives picked up a 
crowbar and others, still with the hastily selected im- 
plements they had seized to fight the fire, started in to 
pry it open. 

As it yielded, Kennedy pushed his way through. 
Elaine, always utterly fearless, followed. Then the 
rest of us went through. 

There seemed to be nothing, however, that would 
help us in the cellar next door, and Kennedy mounted 
the steps of a stairway in the rear. 

The stairway led to a sort of storeroom, full of bar- 
rels and boxes, but otherwise characterless. When 
I arrived Kennedy was gingerly holding up the dusters 
which the crooks had worn. 

** We're on the right trail," commented Elaine as he 



48 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

showed them to her, " but where do you suppose the 
owners are ? " 

Craig shrugged his shoulders and gave a quick look 
about. " Evidently they came in from and went away 
by the street," he observed, hurrying to the door, fol- 
lowed by Elaine. 

On the sidewalk, he gazed up the avenue, then catch- 
ing sight of the street cleaner, called to him. 

" Yes, sir," replied the man, stolidly looking up from 
his work. " I see three gentlemen come out and get 
into an automobile." 

" Which way did they go? " asked Kennedy. 

For answer the man jerked his thumb over his 
shoulder in the general direction uptown. 

'^ Did you notice the number of the car ? " asked 
Craig eagerly. 

The man shrugged his shoulders blankly. 

With keen glance, Kennedy strained his eyes. Far 
up the avenue, he could descry the car threading its 
way in and out among the others, just about disap- 
pearing. 

A moment later Craig caught sight of the vacant 
taxicab and crooked his finger at the driver, who an- 
swered promptly by cranking his engine. 

** You saw that limousine standing there?" asked 
Craig. 

" Yes," nodded the chauffeur with a show of alert- 
ness. 

" Well, follow it," ordered Kennedy, jumping into 
the cab. 

"Yes, sir." 

Craig was just about to close the door when a slight 



THE VANISHING JEWELS 49 

figure flashed past us and a dainty foot was placed on 
the step. 

" Please, Mr. Kennedy," pleaded Elaine, '' let me 
go. They may lead to my father's slayer.'' 

She said it so earnestly that Craig could scarcely 
have resisted if he had wanted to do so. 

Just as Elaine and Kennedy were moving off, I 
came out of the vacant store, with Bennett and the de- 
tectives. 

'' Craig ! " I called. " Where are you going ? " 

Kennedy stuck his head out of the window and I am 
quite sure that he was not altogether displeased that 
I was not with him. 

" Chasing that limousine," he shouted back. '' Fol- 
low us in another car." 

A moment later he and Elaine were gone. 

Bennett and I looked about. 

" There are a couple of cabs — down there," I 
pointed out at the other end of the block. '' Til take 
one you take the other." 

Followed by a couple of the detectives, I jumped 
into the first one I came to, excitedly telling the driver 
to follow Kennedy's taxi, directing him with my head 
out of the window. 

'' Mr. Jameson, please — can't I go wath you ? " 

I turned. It was Susie Martin. " One of you 
fellows, go in the other car," I asked the detect- 
ives. 

Before the man could move, Mr. Martin himself 
appeared. 

'' No, Susan, I — I won't allow it," he ordered. 

" But Elaine went," she pouted. 



so THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

*' Well, Elaine is — ah — I won't have it/' stormed 
Martin. 

There was no time to waste. With a hasty apology, 
I drove off. 

Who, besides Bennett, went in the other car, I don't 
know, but it made no difference, for we soon lost' 
them. Our driver, however, was a really clever fel- 
low. Far ahead now we could see the limousine drive 
around a corner, making a dangerous swerve. Ken- 
nedy's cab followed, skidding dangerously near a pole. 

But the taxicab was no match for the powerful 
limousine. On uptown they went, the only thing pre- 
venting the limousine from escaping being the fear of 
pursuit by traffic police if the driver let out speed. 
They were content to manage to keep just far enough 
ahead to be out of danger of having Kennedy over- 
haul them. As for us, we followed as best we could, 
on uptown, past the city line, and out into the country. 

There Kennedy lost sight altogether of the car he 
was trailing. Worse than that, we lost sight of Ken- 
nedy. Still we kept on blindly, trusting to luck and 
common sense in picking the road. 

I was peering ahead over the driver's shoulder, the 
window down, trying to direct him, when we ap- 
proached a fork in the road. Here was a dilemma 
which must be decided at once rightly or wrongly. 

As we neared the crossroad, I gave an involuntary 
exclamation. Beside the road, almost on it, lay the 
figure of a man. Our driver pulled up with a jerk 
and I was out of the car in an instant. 

There lay Kennedy! Someone had blackjacked 
him. He was groaning and just beginning to show 
signs of consciousness as I bent over. 



THE VANISHING JEWELS 51 

" What's the matter, old man ? " I asked, helping 
him to his feet. 

He looked about dazed a moment, then seeing me 
and comprehending, he pointed excitedly, but vaguely. 

'^ Elaine ! '' he cried. *' They've kidnapped Elaine ! " 

What had really happened, as we learned later from 
Elaine and others, was that when the cross roads was 
reached, the three crooks in the limousine had stopped 
long enough to speak to an accomplice stationed there, 
according to their plan for a getaway. He was a tough 
looking individual who might have been hoboing it 
to the city. 

When, a few minutes later, Kennedy and Elaine 
had approached the fork, their driver had slowed up, 
as if in doubt which way to go. Craig had stuck his 
head out of the window, as I had done, and, seeing 
the crossroads, had told the chauffeur to stop. There 
stood the hobo. 

" Did a car pass here, just now — a big car? " called 
Craig. 

The man put his hand to his ear, as if only half 
comprehending. 

" Which way did the big car go ? " repeated Ken- 
nedy. 

The hobo approached the taxicab sullenly, as if he 
had a grudge against cars in general. 

One question after another elicited little that could 
be construed as intelligence. If Craig had only been 
able to see, he would have found out that, with his 
back toward the taxicab driver, the hobo held one 
hand behind him and made the sign of the Clutching 
Hand, glancing surreptitiously at the driver to catch 



52 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

the answering sign, while Craig gazed earnestly up the 
two roads. 

At last Craig gave him up as hopeless. '' Well — 
go ahead — that way," he indicated, picking the most 
likely road. 

As the chauffeur was about to start, he stalled his 
engine. 

*' Hurry ! " urged Craig, exasperated at the delays. 

The driver got out and tried to crank the engine. 
Again and again he turned it over, but, somehow, it 
refused to start. Then he lifted the hood and began 
to tinker. 

*' What's the matter?" asked Craig, impatiently 
jumping out and bending over the engine, too. 

The driver shrugged his shoulders. " Must be 
something wrong with the ignition, I guess," he re- 
plied. 

Kennedy looked the car over hastily. " I can't see 
anything wrong," he frowned. 

" Well, there is," growled the driver. 

Precious minutes were speeding away, as they ar- 
gued. Finally with his characteristic energy, Ken- 
nedy put the taxicab driver aside. 

" Let me try it," he said. '' Miss Dodge, will you 
arrange that spark and throttle ? " 

Elaine, equal to anything, did so, and Craig bent 
down and cranked the engine. It started on the first 
spin. 

'' See ! " he exclaimed. *' There wasn't anything, 
after all." 

He took a step toward the taxicab. 

" Say," objected the driver, nastily, interposing him- 
self between Craig and the wheel which he seemed dis- 



THE \\\XISHIXG JEWELS 53 

posed to take now, ''' who's running this boat, any- 
how ? '' 

Surprised, Kennedy tried to shoulder the fellow out 
of the w^ay. The driver resisted sullenly. 

" Mr. Kennedy — look out ! '' cried Elaine. 

Craig turned. But it was too late. The rough 
looking fellow had wakened to life. Suddenly he 
stepped up behind Kennedy with a blackjack. As the 
heaVy weight descended, Craig crumpled up on the 
ground, unconscious. 

With a scream, Elaine turned and started to run. 
But the chauffeur seized her arm. 

'' Say, bo," he asked of the rough fellow, '' what 
does Clutching Hand w^ant with her? Quick! 
There's another cab likely to be along in a moment 
with that fellow Jameson in it." 

The rough fellow, with an oath, seized her and 
dragged her into the taxicab. '' Go ahead ! " he 
growled, indicating the road. 

And away they sped, leaving Kennedy unconscious 
on the side of the road where we found him. 

"What are we to do?" I asked helplessly of Ken- 
nedy, when we had at last got him on his feet. 

His head still ringing from the force of the blow 
of the blackjack, Craig stooped down, then knelt in 
the dust of the road, then ran ahead a bit where it was 
somewhat muddy. 

" Which way — which way ? " he muttered to him- 
self. 

I thought perhaps the blow had affected him and 
leaned over to see what he was doing. Instead, he 
was studying the marks made by the tire of the 



54 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Clutching Hand cab. Very decidedly, there in the 
road, the little anti-skid marks on the tread of the 
tire showed — some worn, some cut — but with each 
revolution the same marks reappearing unmistakably. 
More than that, it was an unusual make of tire. Craig 
was actually studying the finger prints, so to speak, of 
an automobile! 

More slowly now and carefully, we proceeded, for 
a mistake meant losing the trail of Elaine. Kennedy 
absolutely refused to get inside our cab, but clung 
tightly to a metal rod outside while he stood on the 
running board — now straining his eyes along the road 
to catch any faint glimpse of either taxi or limousine, 
or the dust from them, now gazing intently at the 
ground following the finger prints of the taxicab that 
was carrying off Elaine. All pain was forgotten by 
him now in the intensity of his anxiety for her. 

We came to another crossroads and the driver 
glanced at Craig. ** Stop ! " he ordered. 

In another instant he was down in the dirt, exam- 
ining the road for marks. 

" That way ! " he indicated, leaping back to the run- 
ning board. 

We piled back into the car and proceeded under 
Kennedy's direction, as fast as he would permit. So 
it continued, perhaps for a couple of hours. 

At last Kennedy stopped the cab and slowly di- 
rected the driver to veer into an open space that looked 
peculiarly lonesome. Near it stood a one story brick 
factory building, closed, but not abandoned. 

As I looked about at the unattractive scene, Ken- 
nedy already was down on his knees in the dirt again, 
studying the tire tracks. They were all confused. 



THE VANISHING JEWELS 55 

showing that the taxicab we were following had evi- 
dently backed in and turned several times before 
going on. 

'' Crossed by another set of tire tracks ! " he ex- 
claimed excitedly, studying closer. " That must have 
been the limousine, w^aiting." 

Laboriously he was following the course of the cars 
in the open space, when the one word escaped him, 
'' Footprints ! '' 

He was up and off in a moment, before we could 
imagine what he was after. We had got out of the 
cab, and followed him as, down to the very shore of 
a sort of cove or bay, he went. There lay a rusty, dis- 
carded boiler on the beach, half submerged in the rising 
tide. At this tank the footprints seemed to go right 
down the sand and into the waves which were slowly 
obliterating them. Kennedy gazed out as if to make 
out a possible boat on the horizon, where the cove 
widened out. 

" Look ! '' he cried. 

Farther down the shore, a few feet, I had discov- 
ered the same prints, going in the opposite direction, 
back toward the place from which we had just come. 
I started to follow them, but soon found myself alone. 
Kennedy had paused beside the old boiler. 

*' What is it?" I asked, retracing my steps. 

He did not answer, but seemed to be Hstening. We 
listened also. There certainly w^as a most peculiar 
noise inside that tank. 

Was it a muffled scream ? 

Kennedy reached down and picked up a rock, hitting 
the tank a resounding blow. As the echo died down, 
he listened again. 



56 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Yes, there was a sound — a scream perhaps — a 
woman's voice, faint, but unmistakable. 

I looked at his face inquiringly. Without a word 
I read in it the confirmation of the thought that had 
flashed into my mind. 

Elaine Dodge was inside ! 

First had come the limousine, with its three bandits, 
to the spot fixed on as a rendezvous. Later had come 
the taxicab. As it hove into sight, the three well- 
dressed crooks had drawn revolvers, thinking perhaps 
the plan for getting rid of Kennedy might possibly 
have miscarried. But the taxicab driver and the 
rough-faced fellow had reassured them with the sign 
of the Clutching Hand, and the revolvers were low- 
ered. 

As they parleyed hastily, the rough-neck and the 
fake chauflfeur lifted Elaine out of the taxi. She was 
bound and gagged. 

" Well, now we've got her, what shall we do with 
her? " asked one. 

" It's got to be quick. There's another cab," put in 
the driver. 

" The deuce with that." 

" The deuce with nothing," he returned. '' That 
fellow Kennedy's a clever one. He may come to. If 
he does, he won't miss us. Quick, now ! " 

*' I wish I'd broken his skull," muttered the rough- 
neck. 

'* We'd better leave her somewhere here," remarked 
one of the better-dressed three. " I don't think the 
chief wants us to kill her — yet," he added, with an 
ominous glance at Elaine, who in spite of threats was 



THE VANISHING JEWELS 57 

not cowed, but was vainly struggling at her bonds. 

" Well, where shall it be ? " asked another. 

They looked about. 

*' See," cried the third. " See that, old boiler down 
there at the edge of the water? Why not put her in 
there? No one'U ever think to look in such a place." 

Down by the water's edge, where he pointed, lay a 
big boiler such as is used on stationary engines, with 
its end lapped by the waves. With a hasty expression 
of approval, the rough-neck picked Elaine up bodily, 
still struggling vainly, and together they carried her, 
bound and gagged, to the tank. The opening, which 
was toward the water, was small, but they managed, 
roughly, to thrust her in. 

A moment later and they had rolled up a huge boul- 
der against the small entrance, bracing it so that it 
would be impossible for her to get out from the in- 
side. Then they drove off hastily. 

Inside the old boiler lay Elaine, still bound and 
gagged. If she could only scream! Someone might 
hear. She must get help. There was water in the 
tank. She managed to lean up inside it, standing as 
high as the walls would allow her, trying to keep her 
head above the water. 

Frantically, she managed to loosen the gag. She 
screamed. Her voice seemed to be bound around by 
the iron walls as was she herself. She shuddered. 
The water was rising — had reached her chest, and 
was still rising, slowly, inexorably. 

What should she do? Would no one hear her? 
The water was up to her neck now. She held her 
head as high as she could and screamed again. 



58 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

What was that? Silence? Or was someone out- 
side? 

Coolly, in spite of the emergency, Kennedy took in 
the perilous situation. 

The lower end of the boiler, which was on a slant 
on the rapidly shelving beach, was now completely 
under water and impossible to get at. Besides, the 
opening was small, too small. 

We pulled away the stone, but that did no good. No 
one could hope to get in and then out again that way 
alive — much less with a helpless girl. Yet something 
must be done. The tank was practically submerged 
inside, as I estimated quickly. Blows had no effect 
on the huge iron trap which had been built to resist 
many pounds of pressure. 

Kennedy gazed about frantically and his eye caught 
the sign on the factory : 

OXYACETYLENE WELDING CO. 

" Come, Walter,'' he cried, running up the shore. 

A moment later, breathless, we reached the door- 
way. It was, of course, locked. Kennedy whipped 
out his revolver and several well-directed shots through 
the keyhole smashed the lock. We put our shoulders 
to it and swung the door open, entering the factory. 

There was not a soul about, not even a watchman. 
Hastily we took in the place, a forge and a number of 
odds and ends of metal sheets, rods, pipes and angles. 

Beside a workbench stood two long cylinders, 
studded with bolts. 

*' That's what I'm looking for," exclaimed Craig. 



THE VANISHING JEWELS 59 

'' Here, Walter, take one. I'll take the other — and 
the tubes — and — '' 

He did not pause to finish, but seized up a peculiar 
shaped instrument, like a huge hook, with a curved 
neck and sharp beak. Really it was composed of two 
metal tubes which ran into a cylinder or mixing cham- 
ber above the nozzle, while parallel to them ran an- 
other tube with a nozzle of its own. 

We ran, for there was no time to lose. As nearly 
as I could estimate it, the water must now be slowly 
closing over Elaine. 

"What is it?" I asked as he joined up the tubes 
from the tanks to the peculiar hook-like apparatus he 
carried. 

" An oxyacetylene blowpipe," he muttered back fe- 
verishly working. '' Used for welding and cutting, 
too," he added. 

With a light he touched the nozzle. Instantly a 
hissing, blinding flame-needle made the steel under it 
incandescent. The terrific heat from one nozzle made 
the steel glow. The stream of oxygen from the sec- 
ond completely consumed the hot metal. And the 
force of the blast carried a fine spray of disintegrated 
metal before it. It was a brilliant sight. But it was 
more than that. Through the very steel itself, the 
flame, thousands of degrees hot, seemed to eat its way 
in a flne line, as if it were a sharp knife cutting through 
ordinary cardboard. 

With tense muscles Kennedy skillfully guided the 
terrible instrument that ate cold steel, wielding the 
torch as deftly as if it had been, as indeed it was, a 
magic wand of modern science. 

He was actually cutting out a huge hole in the still 



6o THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

exposed surface of the tank — all around, except for 
a few inches, to prevent the heavy piece from falling 
inward. 

As Kennedy carefully bent outward the section of 
the tank which he had cut, he quickly reached down 
and lifted Elaine, unconscious, out of the water. 

Gently he laid her on the sand. It was the work of 
only a moment to cut the cords that bound her hands. 

There she lay, pale and still. Was she dead ? 

Kennedy worked frantically to revive her. 

At last, slowly, the color seemed to return to her 
pale lips. Her eyelids fluttered. Then her great, deep 
eyes opened. 

As she looked up and caught sight of Craig bending 
anxiously over her, she seemed to comprehend. For 
a moment both were silent. Then Elaine reached up 
and took his hand. 

There was much in the look she gave him — admira- 
tion, confidence, — love itself. 

Heroics, however, were never part of Kennedy's 
frank make-up. The fact was that her admiration, 
even though not spoken, plainly embarrassed him. 
Yet he forgot that as he looked at her lying there, frail 
and helpless. 

He stroked her forehead gently, laying back the wet 
ringlets of her hair. 

'' Craig," she murmured, '' you — youVe saved my 
life!" 

Her tone was eloquent. 

" Elaine," he whispered, still gazing into her won- 
derful eyes, *' the Clutching Hand shall pay for this ! 
It is a fight to the finish between us ! " 



" THE FROZEN SAFE " 6i 
CHAPTER IV 

'' THE FROZEN SAFE " 

Kennedy swung open the door of our taxicab as 
we pulled up, safe at last, before the Dodge mansion, 
after the rescue of Elaine from the brutal machina- 
tions of the Clutching Hand. 

Bennett was on the step of the cab in a moment 
and, together, one on each side of Elaine, they as- 
sisted her out of the car and up the steps to the house. 

As they mounted the steps, Kennedy called back to 
me, '' Pay the driver, Walter, please." 

It was the first time I had thought of that. As it 
happened, I had quite a bankroll with me and, in my 
hurry, I peeled oflf a ten dollar bill and tossed it to 
the fellow, intending to be generous and tell him to 
keep the change. 

" Say," he exclaimed, pointing to the clock, '' come 
across — twenty-three, sixty." 

Protesting, I peeled oflf some more bills. 

Having satisfied this veritable anaconda and gorged 
his dilating appetite for banknotes, I turned to follow 
the others. Jennings had opened the door immedi- 
ately. Whether it w^as that he retained a grudge 
against me or whether he did not see me, he would 
have closed it before I could get up there. I called 
and took the steps two at a time. 

Elaine's Aunt Josephine w^as waiting for us in the 
drawing room, very much worried. The dear old lady 
w^as quite scandalized as Elaine excitedly told of the 
thrilling events that had just taken place. 



62 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

'' And to think they — actually — carried you ! " she 
exclaimed, horrified, adding, *' And I not — " 

'' But Mr. Kennedy came along and saved me just 
in time," interrupted Elaine with a smile. " I was well 
chaperoned ! " 

Aunt Josephine turned to Craig gratefully. ^' How 
can I ever thank you enough, Mr. Kennedy," she said 
fervently. 

Kennedy was quite embarrassed. With a smile, 
Elaine perceived his discomfiture, not at all displeased 
by it. 

** Come into the library," she cried gaily, taking his 
arm. *' I've something to show you." 

Where the old safe which had been burnt through 
had stood was now a brand new safe of the very latest 
construction and design — one of those that look and 
are so formidable. 

** Here is the new safe," she pointed out brightly. 
^' It is not only proof against explosives, but between 
the plates is a lining that is proof against thermit and 
even that oxy-acetylene blowpipe by which you res- 
cued me from the old boiler. It has a time lock, too, 
that will prevent its being opened at night, even if 
anyone should learn the combination." 

They stood before the safe a moment and Kennedy 
examined it closely with much interest. 

" Wonderful ! " he admired. 

" I knew you'd approve of it," cried Elaine, much 
pleased. " Now I have something else to show you." 

She paused at the desk and from a drawer took out 
a portfolio of large photographs. They were very 
handsome photographs of herself. 



" THE FROZEN SAFE " 63 

" Much more wonderful than the safe," remarked 
Craig earnestly. Then, hesitating and a trifle embar- 
rassed, he added, '' May I — may I have one ? " 

" If you care for it," she said, dropping her eyes, 
then glancing up at him quickly. 

" Care for it? " he repeated. '* It will be one of the 
greatest treasures." 

She slipped the picture quickly into an envelope. 
*' Come," she interrupted. " Aunt Josephine will be 
wondering where we are. She — she's a demon 
chaperone." 

Bennett, Aunt Josephine and myself were talking 
earnestly as Elaine and Craig returned. 

" Well," said Bennett, glancing at his watch and 
rising as he turned to Elaine, *' Fm afraid I must go, 
now." 

He crossed over to where she stood and shook hands. 
There was no doubt that Bennett was very much smit- 
ten by his fair client. 

" Good-bye, Mr. Bennett," she murmured, '* and 
thank you so much for w^hat you have done for me to- 
day." 

But there was something lifeless about the words. 
She turned quickly to Craig, who had remained stand- 
ing. 

'' Must you go, too, Mr. Kennedy? " she asked, notic- 
ing his position. 

*' Fm afraid Mr. Jameson and I must be back on 
the job before this Clutching Hand gets busy again," 
he replied reluctantly. 

''Oh, I hope you — we get him soon!" she ex- 
claimed, and there was nothing lifeless about the way 



64 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

she gave Craig her hand, as Bennett, he and I left a 
moment later. 

That morning I had noticed Kennedy fussing some 
time at the door of our apartment before we went over 
to the laboratory. As nearly as I could make out he 
had placed something under the rug at the door out 
into the hallway. 

When we approached our door, now, Craig paused. 
By pressing a little concealed button he caused a panel 
in the wall outside to loosen, disclosing a small, box- 
like plate in the wall underneath. 

It was about a foot long and perhaps four inches 
wide. Through it ran a piece of paper which un- 
rolled from one coil and wound up on another, actu- 
ated by clockwork. Across the blank white paper ran 
an ink line traced by a stylographic pen, such as I had 
seen in mechanical pencils used in offices, hotels, banks 
and such places. 

Kennedy examined the thing with interest. 

"What is it?" I asked. 

** A new seismograph,'^ he replied, still gazing care- 
fully at the rolled up part of the paper. *' I have in- 
stalled it because it registers every footstep on the 
floor of our apartment. We can't be too careful with 
this Clutching Hand. I want to know whether we 
have any visitors or not in our absence. This straight 
line indicates that we have not. Wait a moment." 

Craig hastily unlocked the door and entered. In- 
side, I could see him pacing up and down our modest 
quarters. 

" Do you see anything, Walter? " he called. 

I looked at the seismograph. The pen had started 



" THE FROZEN SAFE " 65 

to trace its line, no longer even and straight, but zigzag, 
at different heights across the paper. 

He came to the door. '' What do you think of it? " 
he inquired. 

" Splendid idea," I answered enthusiastically. 

Our apartment was, as I have said, modest, consist- 
ing of a large living room, two bedrooms, and bath — 
an attractive but not ornate place, which we found 
very cosy and comfortable. On one side of the room 
was a big fire place, before which stood a fire screen. 
We had collected easy chairs and capacious tables and 
desks. Books were scattered about, literally overflow- 
ing from the crowded shelves. On the walls were our 
favorite pictures, while for ornament, I suppose I 
might mention my typewriter and now and then some 
of Craig's wonderful scientific apparatus as satisfying 
our limited desire for the purely aesthetic. 

We entered and fell to work at the aforementioned 
typewriter, on a special Sunday story that I had been 
forced to neglect. I was not so busy, however, that 
I did not notice out of the corner of my eye that Ken- 
nedy had taken from its cover Elaine Dodge's picture 
and was gazing at it ravenously. 

I put my hand surreptitiously over my mouth and 
coughed. Kennedy wheeled on me and I hastily 
banged a sentence out on the machine, making at least 
half a dozen mistakes. 

I had finished as much of the article as I could do 
then and was smoking and reading it over. Kennedy 
was still gazing at the picture Miss Dodge had given 
him, then moving from place to place about the room, 
evidently wondering where it would look best. I doubt 



66 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

whether he had done another blessed thing since we re- 
turned. 

He tried it on the mantel. That wouldn't do. At 
last he held it up beside a picture of Galton, I think, 
of finger print and eugenics fame, who hung on the 
wall directly opposite the fireplace. Hastily he com- 
pared the two. Elaine's picture was of precisely the 
same size. 

Next he tore out the picture of the scientist and 
threw it carelessly into the fireplace. Then he placed 
Elaine's picture in its place and hung it up again, stand- 
ing off to admire it. 

I watched him gleefully. Was this Craig? Pur- 
posely I moved my elbow suddenly and pushed a book 
with a bang on the floor. Kennedy actually jumped. 
I picked up the book with a muttered apology. No, 
this was not the same old Craig. 

Perhaps half an hour later, I was still reading. Ken- 
nedy was now pacing up and down the room, appar- 
ently unable to concentrate his mind on any but one 
subject. 

He stopped a moment before the photograph, looked 
at it fixedly. Then he started his methodical walk 
again, hesitated, and went over to the telephone, call- 
ing a number which I recognized. 

'' She must have been pretty well done up by her 
experience," he said apologetically, catching my eye. 
" I was wondering if — Hello — oh. Miss Dodge — I 
— er — I — er — just called up to see if you were all 
right." 

Craig was very much embarrassed, but also very 
much in earnest. 

A musical laugh rippled over the telephone. " Yes, 



" THE FROZEN SAFE " 67 

Vm all right, thank you, Mr. Kennedy — and I put the 
package you sent me into the safe, but — " 

"Package?" frowned Craig. ''Why, I sent you 
no package, Miss Dodge. In the safe? " 

" Why, yes, and the safe is all covered with mois- 
ture — and so cold." 

'' Moisture — cold ? " he repeated quickly. 

'' Yes. I have been wondering if it is all right. In 
fact, I was going to call you up, only I was afraid 
you'd think I was foolish." 

'' I shall be right over," he answered hastily, clap- 
ping the receiver back on its hook. '' Walter," he 
added, seizing his hat and coat, ''come on — hurry!" 

A few minutes later we drove up in a taxi before the 
Dodge house and rang the bell. 

Jennings admitted us sleepily. 

It could not have been long after we left IMiss Dodge 
late in the afternoon that Susie }^Iartin, who had been 
quite worried over our long absence after the attempt 
to rob her father, dropped in on Elaine. Wide-eyed, 
she had listened to Elaine's story of what had hap- 
pened. 

" And you think this Clutching Hand has never re- 
covered the incriminating papers that caused him to 
murder your father?" asked Susie. 

Elaine shook her head. " Xo. Let me show you 
the new safe I've bought. Mr. Kennedy thinks it 
wonderful." 

" I should think you'd be proud of it," admired 
Susie. " I must tell father to get one, too." 

At that very moment, if they had known it, the 
Clutching Hand with his sinister, masked face, was 



68 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

peering at the two girls from the other side of the por- 
tieres. 

Susie rose to go and Elaine followed her to the 
door. No sooner had she gone than the Clutching 
Hand came out from behind the curtains. He gazed 
about a moment, then moving over to the safe about 
which the two girls had been talking, stealthily ex- 
amined it. 

He must have heard someone coming, for, with a 
gesture of hate at the safe itself, as though he personi- 
fied it, he slipped back of the curtains again. 

Elaine had returned and as she sat down at the desk 
to go over some papers which Bennett had left rela- 
tive to settling up the estate, the masked intruder 
stealthily and silently withdrew. 

" A package for you. Miss Dodge," announced Mi- 
chael later in the evening as Elaine, in her dainty 
evening gown, was still engaged in going over the pa- 
pers. He carried it in his hands rather gingerly. 

*' Mr. Kennedy sent it, ma'am. He says it contains 
clues and will you please put it in the new safe for 
him." 

Elaine took the package eagerly and examined it. 
Then she pulled open the heavy door of the safe. 

'* It must be getting cold out, Michael," she re- 
marked. ** This package is as cold as ice." 

'* It is, ma'am," answered Michael, deferentially with 
a sidelong glance that did not prevent his watching het 
intently. 

She closed the safe and, with a glance at her watch, 
set the time lock and went upstairs to her room. 

No sooner had Elaine disappeared than Michael 
appeared again, cat-like, through the curtains from the 



" THE FROZEN SAFE " 69 

drawing room, and, after a glance about the dimly 
lighted library, discovering that the coast was clear, 
motioned to a figure hiding behind the portieres. 

A moment, and Clutching Hand himself came out. 

He moved over to the safe and looked it over. Then 
he put out his hand and touched it. 

'* Good, Michael," he exclaimed with satisfaction. 

" Listen ! " cautioned Michael. 

Someone was coming and they hastily slunk behind 
the protecting portieres. It was Marie, Elaine's maid. 

She turned up the lights and went over to the desk 
for a book for which Elaine had evidently sent her. 
She paused and appeared to be listening. Then she 
went to the door. 

" Jennings ! " she beckoned. 

'' What is it, Marie ? " he replied. 

She said nothing, but as he came up the hall led him 
to the center of the room. 

" Listen ! I heard sighs and groans ! " 

Jennings looked at her a moment, puzzled, then 
laughed. '* You girls ! " he exclaimed. " I suppose 
you'll always think the library haunted, now." 

" But, Jennings, listen," she persisted. 

Jennings did listen. Sure enough, there were 
sounds, weird, uncanny. He gazed about the room. 
It was eerie. Then he took a few steps toward the 
safe. Marie put out her hand to it, and started back. 

" Why, that safe is all covered with cold sweat ! " 
she cried with bated breath. 

Sure enough the face of the safe was beaded with 
dampness. Jennings put his hand on it and quickly 
drew it away, leaving a mark on the dampness. 

*' Wh-what do you think of that? " he gasped. 



70 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" I'm going to tell Miss Dodge," cried Marie, gen- 
uinely frightened. 

A moment later she burst into Elaine's room. 

'' What is the matter, Marie?*" asked Elaine, laying 
down her book. '* You look as if you had seen a 
ghost." 

'' Ah, but, mademoiselle — it ees just like that. The 
safe — if mademoiselle will come downstairs, I will 
show it you." 

Puzzled but interested, Elaine followed her. In the 
library Jennings pointed mutely at the new safe. 
Elaine approached it. As they stood about new beads 
of perspiration, as it were, formed on it. Elaine 
touched it, and also quickly withdrew her hand. 

" I can't imagine what's the matter," she said. " But 
— well — Jennings, you may go — and Marie, also." 

When the servants had gone she still regarded the 
safe with the same wondering look, then turning out 
the light, she followed. 

She had scarcely disappeared when, from the por- 
tiered doorway nearby, the Clutching Hand appeared, 
and, after gazing out at them, took a quick look at the 
safe. 

'' Good ! " he muttered. 

Noiselessly Michael of the sinister face moved in 
and took a position in the center of the room, as if 
on guard, while Clutching Hand sat before the safe 
watching it intently. 

'* Someone at the door — Jennings is answering the 
bell," Michael whispered hoarsely. 

" Confound it ! " muttered Clutching Hand, as both 
moved again behind the heavy velour curtains. 



" THE FROZEN SAFE " 71 

" rm so glad to see you, Mr. Kennedy," greeted 
Elaine unaffectedly as Jennings admitted us. 

She had heard the bell and was coming downstairs 
as we entered. We three moved toward the library 
and someone switched on the lights. 

Craig strode over to the safe. The cold sweat on 
it had now turned to icicles. Craig's face clouded 
with thought as he examined it more closely. There 
was actually a groaning sound from within. 

" It can't be opened," he said to himself. " The 
time lock is set for tomorrow morning." 

Outside, if we had not been so absorbed in the pres- 
ent mystery, we might have seen Michael and the 
Clutching Hand listening to us. Clutching Hand 
looked hastily at his watch. 

" The deuce ! " he muttered under his breath, stifling 
his suppressed fury. 

We stood looking at the safe. Kennedy was deeply 
interested, Elaine standing close beside him. Sud- 
denly he seemed to make up his mind. 

*' Quick — Elaine ! " he cried, taking her arm. 
" Stand back ! " 

We all retreated. The safe door, powerful as it 
was, had actually begun to warp and bend. The 
plates were bulging. A moment later, with a loud 
report and concussion the door blew off. 

A blast of cold air and flakes like snow flew out. 
Papers were scattered on every side. 

We stood gazing, aghast, a second, then ran for- 
ward. Kennedy quickly examined the safe. He bent 
down and from the wreck took up a package, now 
covered with white. 

As quickly he dropped it. 



^2 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" That is the package that was sent," cried Elaine. 

Taking it in a table cover, he laid it on the table 
and opened it. Inside was a peculiar shaped flask, 
open at the top, but like a vacuum bottle. 

" A Dewar flask ! " ejaculated Craig. 

** What is it ? '' asked Elaine, appealing to him. 

*^ Liquid air ! " he answered. " As it evaporated, 
the terrific pressure of expanding air in the safe in- 
creased until it blew out the door. That is what 
caused the cold sweating and the groans." 

We watched him, startled. 

On the other side of the portieres Michael and 
Clutching Hand waited. Then, in the general con- 
fusion. Clutching Hand slowly disappeared, foiled. 

^* Where did this package come from ? " asked 
Kennedy of Jennings suspiciously. 

Jennings looked blank. 

'' Why," put in Elaine, " Michael brought it to me." 

" Get Michael," ordered Kennedy. 

" Yes, sir," nodded Jennings. 

A moment later he returned. '' I found him, go- 
ing upstairs," reported Jennings, leading Michael in. 

" Where did you get this package ? " shot out 
Kennedy. 

" It was left at the door, sir, by a boy, sir." 

Question after question could not shake that simple, 
stolid sentence. Kennedy frowned. 

" You may go," he said finally, as if reserving some- 
thing for Michael later. 

A sudden exclamation followed from Elaine as 
Michael passed down the hall again. She had 
moved over to the desk, during the questioning, and 
was leanino^ arainst it. 



" THE FROZEN SAFE " 73 

Inadvertently she had touched an envelope. It was 
addressed, *' Craig Kennedy." 

Craig tore it open, Elaine bending anxiously over 
his shoulder, frightened. 

We read: 

" You HAVE INTERFERED FOR THE LAST TIME. It IS 
THE END." 

Beneath it stood the fearsome sign of the Clutch- 
ing Hand ! 

The warning of the Clutching Hand had no other 
effect on Kennedy than the redoubling of his precau- 
tions for safety. Nothing further happened that 
night, however, and the next morning found us early 
at the laboratory. 

It was the late forenoon, when after a hurried trip 
down to the office, I rejoined Kennedy at his scientific 
workshop. 

We walked down the street when a big limousine 
shot past. Kennedy stopped in the middle of a re- 
mark. He had recognized the car, with a sort of in- 
stinct. 

At the same moment I saw a smiling face at the 
window of the car. It was Elaine Dodge. 

The car stopped in something less than twice its 
length and then backed toward us. 

Kennedy, hat ofif, was at the window In a moment. 
There were Aunt Josephine, and Susie ]\Iartin, also. 

"Where are you boys going?" asked Elaine, with 
interest, then added with a gaiety that ill concealed 
her real anxiety, " I'm so glad to see you — to see 



74 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

that — er — nothing has happened from that dread- 
ful Clutching Hand/' 

'' Why, we were just going up to our rooms," re- 
plied Kennedy. 

" Can't we drive you around ? " 

We climbed in and a moment later were off. The 
ride was only too short for Kennedy. We stepped 
out in front of our apartment and stood chatting for 
a moment. 

'' Some day I want to show you the laboratory,'* 
Craig was saying. 

"It must be so — interesting!" exclaimed Elaine 
enthusiastically. '' Think of all the bad men you must 
have caught ! " 

*^ I have quite a collection of stuff here at our 
rooms," remarked Craig, '' almost a museum. Still," 
he ventured, '' I can't promise that the place is in 
order," he laughed. 

Elaine hesitated. " Would you like to see it? " she 
wheedled of Aunt Josephine. 

Aunt Josephine nodded acquiescence, and a mo- 
ment later we all entered the building. 

" You — you are very careful since that last warn- 
ing?" asked Elaine as we approached our door. 

*' More than ever — now," replied Craig. " I have 
made up my mind to win." 

She seemed to catch at the words as though they 
had a hidden meaning, looking first at him and then 
away, not displeased. 

Kennedy had started to unlock the door, when he 
stopped short. 

*' See," he said, " this is a precaution I have just in- 
stalled. I almost forgot in the excitement." 



" THE FROZEN SAFE " 75 

He pressed a panel and disclosed the box-like ap- 
paratus. 

** This is my seismograph which tells me whether 
I have had any visitors in my absence. If the pen 
traces a straight line, it is all right ; but if — hello — 
Walter, the line is wavy." 

We exchanged a significant glance. 

" Would you mind — er — standing down the hall 
just a bit while I enter?" asked Craig. 

'' Be careful," cautioned Elaine. 

He unlocked the door, standing off to one side. 
Then he extended his hand across the doorway. Still 
nothing happened. There was not a sound. He 
looked cautiously into the room. Apparently there 
was nothing. 

It had been about the middle of the morning that an 
express wagon had pulled up sharply before our apart- 
ment. 

*' Mr. Kennedy live here?" asked one of the ex- 
pressmen, descending with his helper and approaching 
our janitor, Jens Jensen, a typical Swede, who was 
coming up out of the basement. 

Jens growled a surly, '* Yes — but Mr. Kannady^ 
he bane out." 

*^ Too bad — we've got this large cabinet he or- 
dered from Grand Rapids. We can't cart it around 
all day. Can't you let us in so we can leave it ? " 

Jensen muttered. "Wall — I guess it bane all 
right." 

They took the cabinet off the wagon and carried 
it upstairs. Jensen opened our door, still grumbling. 



76 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

and they placed the heavy cabinet in the living room. 

" Sign here." 

'' You fallers bane a nuisance," protested Jens, sign- 
ing nevertheless. 

Scarcely had the sound of their footfalls died away 
in the outside hallway when the door of the cabinet 
slowly opened and a masked face protruded, gazing 
about the room. 

It was the Clutching Hand ! 

From the cabinet he took a large package wrapped 
in newspapers. As he held it, looking keenly about, 
his eye rested on Elaine's picture. A moment he 
looked at it, then quickly at the fireplace opposite. 

An idea seemed to occur to him. He took the 
package to the fireplace, removed the screen, and laid 
the package over the andirons with one end pointing 
out into the room. 

Next he took from the cabinet a couple of storage 
batteries and a coil of wire. Deftly and quickly he 
fixed them on the package. 

Meanwhile, before an alleyway across the street and 
further down the long block the express wagon had 
stopped. The driver and his helper clambered out and 
for a moment stood talking in low tones, with covert 
glances at our apartment. They moved into the alley 
and the driver drew out a battered pair of opera 
glasses, levelling them at our windows. 

Having completed fixing the batteries and wires, 
Clutching Hand ran the wires along the moulding on 
the wall overhead, from the fireplace until he was 
directly over Elaine's picture. Skillfully, he man- 
aged to fix the wires, using them in place of the pic- 
ture wires to support the framed photograph. Then 



" THE FROZEN SAFE " yj 

he carefully moved the photograph until it hung very 
noticeably askew on the wall. 

The last wire joined, he looked about the room, then 
noiselessly moved to the window and raised the shade. 

Quickly he raised his hand and brought the fingers 
slowly together. It was the sign. 

Oflf in the alley, the express driver and his helper 
were still gazing up through the opera glass. 

" What d'ye see. Bill ? " he asked, handing over the 
glass. 

The other took it and looked. " It's him — the 
Hand, Jack," whispered the helper, handing the 
glasses back. 

They jumped into the wagon and away it rattled. 

Jensen was smoking placidly as the wagon pulled 
up the second time. 

*' Sorry," said the driver sheepishly, '' but we de- 
livered the cabinet to the wrong Mr. Kennedy." 

He pulled out the inevitable book to prove it. 

" Wall, you bane fine fallers," growled Jensen, 
puffing like a furnace, in his fury. " You cannot go 
up agane." 

'' We'll get fired for the mistake," pleaded the 
helper. 

'' Just this once," urged the driver, as he rattled 
some loose change in his pocket. '' Here — there goes 
a whole day's tips." 

He handed Jens a dollar in small change. 

Still grumpy but mollified by the silver Jens let 
them go up and opened the door to our rooms again. 
There stood the cabinet, as outwardly innocent as 
when it came in. 

Lugging and tugging they managed to get the heavy 



78 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

piece of furniture out and downstairs again, loading 
it on the wagon. Then they drove off with it, ac- 
companied by a parting volley from Jensen. 

In an unfrequented street, perhaps half a mile away, 
the wagon stopped. With a keen glance around, the 
driver and his helper made sure that no one was about. 

" Such a shaking up as you've given me ! " growled 
a voice as the cabinet door opened. " But IVe got 
him this time ! " 

It was the Clutching Hand. 

" There, men, you can leave me here," he ordered. 

He motioned to them to drive off and, as they did 
so, pulled off his masking handkerchief and dived into 
a narrow street leading up to a thoroughfare. 

Craig gazed into our living room cautiously. 

" I can't see anything wrong," he said to me as I 
stood just beside him. '^ Miss Dodge," he added, 
"will you and the rest excuse me if I ask you to 
wait just a moment longer?" 

Elaine watched him, fascinated. He crossed the 
room, then went into each of our other rooms. Ap- 
parently nothing was wrong and a minute later he 
reappeared at the doorway. 

" I guess it's all right," he said. " Perhaps it was 
only Jensen, the janitor." 

Elaine, Aunt Josephine and Susie Martin entered. 
Craig placed chairs for them, but still I could see that 
he was uneasy. From time to time, while they were 
admiring one of our treasures after another, he 
glanced about suspiciously. Finally he moved over 
to a closet and flung the door open, ready for any- 



" THE FROZEN SAFE " 79 

thing. Xo one was in the closet and he closed it 
hastily. 

'' What is the trouble, do you think? " asked Elaine 
wonderingly, noticing his manner. 

"I — I can't just say/' answered Craig, trying to 
appear easy. 

She had risen and with keen interest was looking 
at the books, the pictures, the queer collection of 
weapons and odds and ends from the underworld 
that Craig had amassed in his adventures. 

At last her eye wandered across the room. She 
caught sight of her own picture, occupying a place of 
honor — but hanging askew. 

" Isn't that just like a man ! " she exclaimed laugh- 
ingly. '* Such housekeepers as you are — such care- 
lessness ! " 

She had taken a step or two across the room to 
straighten the picture. 

** Miss Dodge I " almost shouted Kennedy, his face 
fairly blanched, '' Stop ! " 

She turned, her stunning eyes filled with amazement 
at his suddenness. Xevertheless she moved quickly to 
one side, as he waved his arms, unable to speak quickly 
enough. 

Kennedy stood quite still, gazing at the picture, 
askew, with suspicion. 

'^ That wasn't that way when we left, was it, Wal- 
ter?" he asked. 

" It certainly was not," I answered positively, 
" There w^as more time spent in getting that picture 
just right than I ever saw you spend on all the rest 
of the room." 
Craig frowned. 



8o THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

As for myself, I did not know what to make of it. 

" I'm afraid I shall have to ask you to step into this 
back room/' said Craig at length to the ladies. '^ Fm 
sorry — but we can't be too careful with this intruder, 
whoever he was." 

They rose, surprised, but, as he continued to urge 
them, they moved into my room. 

Elaine, however, stopped at the door. 

For a moment Kennedy appeared to be considering. 
Then his eye fell on a fishing rod that stood in a 
corner. He took it and moved toward the picture. 

On his hands and knees, to one side, down as close 
as he could get to the floor, with the rod extended at 
arm's length, he motioned to me to do the same, be- 
hind him. 

Elaine, unable to repress her interest took a half 
step forward, breathless, from the doorway, while 
Susie Martin and Aunt Josephine stood close behind 
her. 

Carefully Kennedy reached out with the pole and 
straightened the picture. 

As he did so there was a flash, a loud, deafening re- 
port, and a great puff of smoke from the fireplace. 

The fire screen was riddled and overturned. A 
charge of buckshot shattered the precious photograph 
of Elaine. 

We had dropped flat on the floor at the report. I 
looked about. Kennedy was unharmed, and so were 
the rest. 

With a bound he was at the fireplace, followed by 
Elaine and the rest of us. There, in what remained 
of a package done up roughly in newspaper, was a 
shot gun with its barrel sawed off about six inches 



" THE FROZEN SAFE " 8l 

from the lock, fastened to a block of wood, and con- 
nected to a series of springs on the trigger, released 
by a little electromagnetic arrangement actuated by 
two batteries and leading by wires up along the mould- 
ing to the picture where the slightest touch would 
complete the circuit. 

The newspapers which were wrapped about the 
deadly thing were burning, and Kennedy quickly tore 
them off, throwing them into the fireplace. 

A startled cry from Elaine caused us to turn. 

She was standing directly before her shattered pic- 
ture where it hung awry on the wall. The heavy 
charges of buckshot had knocked away large pieces of 
paper and plaster under it. 

*' Craig!" she gasped. 

He was at her side in a second. 

She laid one hand on his arm, as she faced him. 
With the other she traced an imaginary line in the 
air from the level of the buckshot to his head and 
then straight to the infernal thing that had lain in the 
fireplace. 

'* And to think/' she shuddered, " that it was 
through me that he tried to kill you ! " 

" Never mind," laughed Craig easily, as they gazed 
into each other's eyes, drawn together by their mutual 
peril, " Clutching Hand will have to be cleverer than 
this to get either of us — Elaine ! " 



82 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

CHAPTER V ^ 

THE POISONED ROOM 

Elaine and Craig were much together during the 
next few days. 

Somehow or other, it seemed that the chase of the 
Clutching Hand involved long conferences in the 
Dodge library and even, in fact, extended to excur- 
sions into that notoriously crime-infested neighbor- 
hood of Riverside Drive with its fashionable proces- 
sions of automobiles and go-carts — as far north, in- 
deed, as that desperate haunt known as Grant's Tomb. 

More than that, these delvings into the underworld 
involved Kennedy in the necessity of wearing a frock 
coat and silk hat in the afternoon, and I found that 
he was selecting his neckwear with a care that had 
been utterly foreign to him during all the years previ- 
ous that I had known him. 

It all looked very suspicious to me. 

But, to return to the more serious side of the affair. 

Kennedy and Elaine had scarcely come out of the 
house and descended the steps, one afternoon, when 
a sinister face appeared in a basement areaway nearby. 

The figure was crouched over, with his back humped 
up almost as if deformed, and his left hand had an 
unmistakable twist. 

It was the Clutching Hand. 

He wore a telephone inspector's hat and coat and 
carried a bag slung by a strap over his shoulder. For 
once he had left off his mask, but, in place of it, his 
face was covered by a scraggly black beard. In fact, 
he seemed to avoid turning his face full, three-quar- 



THE POISONED ROOM 83 

ters or even profile to anyone, unless he had to do so. 
As much as possible he averted it, but he did so in a 
clever way that made it seem quite natural. The dis- 
guise was effective. 

He saw Kennedy and Miss Dodge and slunk un- 
obtrusively against a railing, with his head turned 
away. Laughing and chatting, they passed. As they 
walked down the street. Clutching Hand turned and 
gazed after them. Involuntarily the menacing hand 
clutched in open hatred. 

Then he turned in the other direction and, going up 
the steps of the Dodge house, rang the bell. 

'' Telephone inspector," he said in a loud tone as 
Michael, in Jennings* place for the afternoon, opened 
the door. 

He accompanied the words with the sign and 
Michael, taking care that the words be heard, in case 
anyone was listening, admitted him. 

As it happened. Aunt Josephine was upstairs in 
Elaine's room. She was fixing flowers in a vase on 
the dressing table of her idolized niece. Meanwhile, 
Rusty, the collie, lay, half blinking, on the floor. 

" Who is this? " she asked, as Michael led the bogus 
telephone inspector into the room. 

*' A man from the telephone company," he answered 
deferentially. 

Aunt Josephine, unsophisticated, allowed them to 
enter without a further question. 

Quickly, like a good workman, Clutching Hand 
went to the telephone instrument and by dint of keep- 
ing his finger on the hook and his back to Aunt 
Josephine succeeded in conveying the illusion that he 
was examining it. 



84 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Aunt Josephine moved to the door. Xot so, Rusty. 
He did not Hke the looks of the stranger and he had no 
scruples against letting it be known. 

xA.s she put her hand oh the knob to go out into the 
hall, Rusty uttered a low growl which grew into a 
full-lunged snarl at the Clutching Hand. Clutching 
Hand kicked at him vigorously, if surreptitiously. 
Rusty barked. 

" Lady,'' he disguised his voice, " will yer please ter 
call off the dog? ]\Ie and him don't seem to cotton 
to each other." 

'' Here, Rusty," she commanded, ''' down ! " 

Together Aunt Josephine and Michael removed the 
still protesting Rusty. 

Xo sooner was the door shut than the Clutching 
Hand moved over swiftly to it. For a few seconds, 
he stood gazing at them as they disappeared down- 
stairs. Then he came back into the center of the 
room. 

Hastily he opened his bag and from it drew a small 
powder-spraying outfit such as I have seen used for 
spraying bug-powder. He then took out a sort of 
muzzle with an elastic band on it and slipped it over 
his head so that the muzzle protected his nose and 
mouth. 

He seemed to work a sort of pumping attachment 
and from the nozzle of the spraying instrument blew 
out a cloud of powder which he directed at the wall. 

The wall paper was one of those rich, fuzzy varieties 
and it seemed to catch the powder. Clutching Hand 
appeared to be more than satisfied wath the effect. 

]\Ieanwhile, Michael, in the hallway, on guard to see 
that no one bothered the Clutching Hand at his work, 



THE POISONED ROOM 85 

was overcome by curiosity to see what his master was 
doing. He opened the door a httle bit and gazed 
stealthily through the crack into the room. 

Clutching Hand was now spraying the rug close to 
the dressing table of Elaine and was standing near 
the mirror. He stooped down to examine the rug. 
Then, as he raised his head, he happened to look into 
the mirror. In it he could see the full reflection of 
Michael behind him, gazing into the room. 

*' The scoundrel ! '' muttered Clutching Hand, with 
repressed fury at the discovery. 

He rose quickly and shut off the spraying instru- 
ment, stuffing it into the bag. He took a step or two 
toward the door. ]\Iichael drew back, fearfully, pre- 
tending now to be on guard. 

Clutching Hand opened the door and, still wearing 
the muzzle, beckoned to ]\Iichael. ^Michael could 
scarcely control his fears. But he obeyed, entering 
Elaine's room after the Clutching Hand, who locked 
the door. 

'' Were you watching me ? " demanded the master 
criminal, with rage. 

^lichael, trembling all over, shook his head. For 
a moment Clutching Hand looked him over disdain- 
fully at the clumsy lie. 

Then he brutally struck Michael in the face, knock- 
ing him down. An ungovernable, almost insane fury 
seemed to possess the man as he stood over the pros- 
trate footman, cursing. 

'' Get up ! " he ordered. 

Michael obeyed, thoroughly cowed. 

*^ Take me to the cellar, now,'' he demanded. 



86 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Michael led the way from the room without a pro- 
test, the master criminal following him closely. 

Down into the cellar, by a back way, they went, 
Clutching Hand still wearing his muzzle and Michael 
saying not a word. 

Suddenly Clutching Hand turned on him and seized 
him by the collar. 

'' Now, go upstairs, you," he muttered, shaking him 
until his teeth fairly chattered, " and if you watch me 
again — Til kill you ! " 

He thrust Michael away and the footman, over- 
come by fear, hurried upstairs. Still trembling and 
fearful, Michael paused in the hallway, looking back 
resentfully, for even one who is in the power of a 
super-criminal is still human and has feelings that may 
be injured. 

Michael put his hand on his face where the Clutch- 
ing Hand had struck him. There he waited, mutter- 
ing to himself. As he thought it over, anger took 
the place of fear. He slowly turned in the direction 
of the cellar. Closing both his fists, Michael made a 
threatening gesture at his master in crime. 

Aleanwhile, Clutching Hand was standing by the 
electric meter. He examined it carefully, feeling 
where the wires entered and left it starting to trace 
them out. At last he came to a point where it seemed 
suitable to make a connection for some purpose he 
had in mind. 

Quickly he took some wire from his bag and con- 
nected it with the electric light wires. Next, he led 
these wires, concealed of course, along the cellar 
floor, in the direction of the furnace. 

The furnace was one of the old hot air heaters and 



THE POISONED ROOM 87 

he paused before it as though seeking something. 
Then he bent down beside it and uncovered, a Httle 
tank. He took off the top on which were cast in the 
iron the words: 

'' This tank must be kept full of water." 

He thrust his hand gingerly into it, bringing it out 
quickly. The tank was nearly full of water and he 
brought his hand out wet. It was also hot. But he 
did not seem to mind that, for he shook his head with 
a smile of satisfaction. 

Next, from his capacious bag he took two metal 
poles, or electrodes, and fastened them carefully to 
the ends of the wires, placing them' at opposite ends 
of the tank in the water. 

For several moments he watched. The water in- 
side the tank seemed the same as before, only on each 
electrode there appeared bubbles, on one bubbles of 
oxygen, on the other of hydrogen. The water was 
decomposing under the current by electrolysis. 

Another moment he surveyed his work to see that 
he had left no loose ends. Then he picked up his bag 
and moved toward the cellar steps. As he did so, he 
removed the muzzle from his nose and quietly let him- 
self out of the house. 

The next morning. Rusty, who had been Elaine's 
constant companion since the trouble had begun, 
awakened his mistress by licking her hand as it hung 
limply over the side of her bed. 

She awakened with a start and put her hand to her 
head. She felt ill. 



88 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" Poor old fellow," she murmured, half dazedly, 
for the moment endowing her pet with her own feel- 
ings, as she patted his faithful shaggy head. 

Rusty moved away again, wagging his tail listlessly. 
The collie, too, felt ill. Elaine watched him as he 
walked, dejected, across the room and then lay down. 

''Why, Miss Elaine — what ees ze mattair? You 
are so pale ! " exclaimed the maid, Marie, as she en- 
tered the room a moment later with the morning's 
mail on a salver. 

'' I don't feel well, Marie," she replied, trying with 
her slender white hand to brush the cobwebs from 
her brain. ''I — I wish you'd tell Aunt Josephine to 
telephone Dr. Hayward." 

" Yes, mademoiselle," answered Marie, deftly and 
sympathetically straightening out the pillows. 

Languidly Elaine took the letters one by one off the 
salver. She looked at them, but seemed not to have 
energy enough to open them. 

Finally she selected one and slowly tore it open. 
It had no superscription, but it at once arrested her at- 
tention and transfixed her with terror. 

It read : 

^' You ARE SICK THIS MORNING. TOMORROW YOU 
WILL BE WORSE. ThE NEXT DAY YOU WILL DIE UNLESS 
YOU DISCHARGE CrAIG KeNNEDY." 

It was signed by the mystic trademark of the fear- 
some Clutching Hand! 

Elaine drew back into the pillows, horror stricken. 

Quickly she called to Marie. '* Go — get Aunt 
Josephine — right away ! " 



THE POISONED ROOM 89 

As Marie almost flew down the hall, Elaine still 
holding the letter convulsively, pulled herself together 
and got up, trembling. She almost seized the tele- 
phone as she called Kennedy's number. 

Kennedy, in his stained laboratory apron, was at 
work before his table, while I was watching him with 
intense interest, when the telephone rang. 

Without a word he answered the call and I could 
see a look of perturbation cross his face. I knew it 
was from Elaine, but could tell nothing about the na- 
ture of the message. 

An instant later he almost tore off the apron and 
threw on his hat and coat. I followed him as he 
dashed out of the laboratory. 

*' This is terrible — terrible," he muttered, as we 
hurried across the campus of the University to a taxi- 
cab stand. 

A few minutes later, when we arrived at the Dodge 
mansion, we found Aunt Josephine and Marie doing 
all they could under the circumstances. Aunt 
Josephine had just given her a glass of water which 
she drank eagerly. Rusty had, meanwhile, crawled 
under the bed, caring only to be alone and undisturbed. 

Dr. Hay ward had arrived and had just finished tak- 
ing her pulse and temperature as our cab pulled up. 

Jennings who had evidently been expecting us let 
us in without a word and conducted us up to Elaine's 
room. We knocked. 

" Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Jameson," we could hear 
Marie whisper in a subdued voice. 

*' Tell them to come in," answered Elaine eagerly. 

We entered. There she lay, beautiful as ever, but 



90 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

with a whiteness of her fresh cheek that was too 
etherially unnatural. Elaine was quite ill indeed. 

'' Oh — I'm so glad to see you," she breathed, with 
an air of relief as Kennedy advanced. 

''Why — what is the matter?" asked Craig, anxi- 
ously. 

Dr. Hayward shook his head dubiously, but 
Kennedy did not notice him, for, as he approached 
Elaine, she drew from the covers where she had con- 
cealed it a letter and handed it to him. 

Craig took it and read : 

*'Y0U ARE SICK THIS MORNING. TOMORROW YOU 
WILL BE WORSE. ThE NEXT DAY YOU WILL DIE UNLESS 
YOU DISCHARGE CrAIG KENNEDY." 

At the signature of the Qutching Hand he frowned, 
then, noticing Dr. Hayward, turned to him and re- 
peated his question, "♦WTiat is the matter?" 

Dr. Hayward continued shaking his head. " I can- 
not diagnose her symptoms," he shrugged. 

As I watched Kennedy's face, I saw his nostrils 
dilating, almost as if he were a hound and had 
scented his quarry. I sniffed, too. There seemed to 
be a faint odor, almost as if of garlic, in the room. 
It was unmistakable and Craig looked about him 
curiously but said nothing. 

As he sniffed, he moved impatiently and his foot 
touched Rusty, under the bed. Rusty whined and 
moved back lazily. Craig bent over and looked at 
him. 

''What's the matter with Rusty?" he asked. "Is 
he sick, too ? " 




3 
Xi 



a 






S3 
P5 



THE POISONED ROOM 91 

" Why — yes/' answered Elaine, following Craig 
with her deep eyes. '' Poor Rusty. He woke me up 
this morning. He feels as badly as I do, poor old 
fellow." 

Craig reached down and gently pulled the collie 
out into the room. Rusty crouched down close to the 
floor. His nose was hot and dry and feverish. He 
was plainly ill. 

*' How long has Rusty been in the room ? " asked 
Craig. 

" All night," answered Elaine. '' I wouldn't think 
of being without him now." 

Kennedy lifted the dog by his front paws. Rusty 
submitted patiently, but without any spirit. 

" May I take Rusty along with me ? " he asked 
finally. 

Elaine hesitated. '' Surely," she said at length, 
" only, be gentle with him." 

Craig looked at her as though it would be impossible 
to be otherwise with anything belonging to Elaine. 

*^ Of course," he said simply. '* I thought that I 
might be able to discover the trouble from studying 
him." 

We stayed only a few minutes longer, for Kennedy 
seemed to realize the necessity of doing something 
immediately and even Dr. Hayward was fighting in the 
dark. As for me, I gave it up, too. I could find no 
answer to the mystery of what was the peculiar malady 
of Elaine. 

Back in the laboratory, Kennedy set to work im- 
mediately, brushing everything else aside. He be- 
gan by drawing off a little of Rusty 's blood in a tube, 
very carefully. 



92 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" Here, Walter/' he said pointing to the little in- 
cision he had made. *' Will you take care of him?" 

I bound up the wounded leg and gave the poor 
beast a drink of water. Rusty looked at me grate- 
fully from his big sad brown eyes. He seemed to 
appreciate our gentleness and to realize that we were 
trying to help him. 

In the meantime, Craig had taken a flask with a 
rubber stopper. Through one hole in it was fitted a 
long funnel; through another ran a glass tube. The 
tube connected with a large U-shaped drying tube filled 
with calcium chloride, which, in turn, connected with 
a long open tube with an upturned end. 

Into the flask, Craig dropped some pure granulated 
zinc. Then he covered it with dilute sulphuric acid, 
poured in through the funnel tube. 

" That forms hydrogen gas," he explained to me, 
^^ which passes through the drying tube and the igni- 
tion tube. Wait a moment until all the air is ex- 
pelled from the tubes." 

He lighted a match and touched it to the open, up- 
turned end. The hydrogen, now escaping freely, was 
ignited with a pale blue flame. 

A few moments later, having extracted something 
like a serum from the blood he had drawn oflf from 
Rusty. He added the extract to the mixture in the 
flask, pouring it in, also through the funnel tube. 

Almost immediately the pale, bluish flame turned 
to bluish white, and white fumes were formed. In 
the ignition tube a sort of metallic deposit appeared. 

Quickly Craig made one test after another. 

As he did so, I sniffed. There was an unmistak- 



THE POISONED ROOM 93 

able odor of garlic in the air which made me think of 
what I had already noticed in Elaine's room. 

" What is it ? '' I asked, mystified. 

*' Arseniuretted hydrogen/' he answered, still en- 
gaged in verifying his tests. '* This is the Marsh test 
for arsenic." 

I gazed from Kennedy to the apparatus, then to 
Rusty and a picture of Elaine, pale and listless, flashed 
before me. 

** Arsenic ! " I repeated in horror. 

I had scarcely recovered from the surprise o^ 
Kennedy's startling revelation when the telephone 
rang again. Kennedy seized the receiver, thinking evi- 
dently that the message might be from or about Elaine. 

But from the look on his face and from his man- 
ner, I could gather that, although it was not from 
Elaine herself, it was about something that interested 
him greatly. As he talked, he took his little notebook 
and hastily jotted down something in it. Still, I could 
not make out what the conversation was about. 

" Good ! " I heard him say finally. " I shall keep 
the appointment — absolutely." 

His face wore a peculiar puzzled look as he hung 
up the receiver. 

" What was it ? " I asked eagerly. 

*' It was Elaine's footman, Michael," he replied 
thoughtfully. *' As I suspected, he says that he is a 
confederate of the Clutching Hand and if we will 
protect him he will tell us the trouble with Elaine." 

I considered a moment. " How's that ? " I queried. 

*' Well," added Craig, '' you see, IMichael has be- 
come infuriated by the treatment he received from 



94 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

the Clutching Hand. I believe he cuffed him in the 
face yesterday. Anyway, he says he has determined 
to get even and betray him. So, after hearing how 
Elaine was, he slipped out of the servant's door and 
looking about carefully to see that he wasn't followed, 
he went straight to a drug store and called me up. 
He seemed extremely nervous and fearful." 

I did not like the looks of the thing, and said so. 
*' Craig," I objected vehemently, '' don't go to meet 
him. It. is a trap." 

Kennedy had evidently considered my objection al- 
ready. 

** It may be a trap," he replied slowly, *' but Elaine 
is dying and we've got to see this thing through." 

As he spoke, he took an automatic from a drawer of 
a cabinet and thrust it into his pocket. Then he went 
to another drawer and took out several sections of 
thin tubing which seemed to be made to fasten together 
as a fishing pole is fastened, but were now separate, as 
if ready for travelling. 

*' Well — are you coming, Walter?" he asked 
finally — the only answer to my flood of caution. 

Then he went out. I followed, still arguing. 

*' If you go, / go," I capitulated. *' That's all there 
is to it." 

Following the directions that Michael had given 
over the telephone Craig led me into one of the tough- 
est parts of the lower West Side. 

'' Here's the place," he announced, stopping across 
the street from a dingy Raines Law Hotel. 

" Pretty tough," I objected. " Are you sure? " 

" Quite," replied Kennedy, consulting his note book 
again. 



THE POISONED ROOM 95 

'' Well, I'll be hanged if I'll go in that joint/' I per- 
sisted. 

It had no effect on Kennedy. '* Nonsense, Walter," 
he replied, crossing the street. 

Reluctantly I followed and we entered the place. 

'' I want a room," asked Craig as we were accosted 
by the proprietor, comfortably clad in a loud checked 
suit and striped shirt sleeves. " I had one here once 
before — forty-nine, I think." 

" Fifty — " I began to correct. 

Kennedy trod hard on my toes. 

'' Yes, forty-nine," he repeated. 

The proprietor called a stout negro porter, waiter, 
and bell-hop all combined in one, who led us upstairs. 

" Fohty-nine, sah," he pointed out, as Kennedy 
dropped a dime into his ready palm. 

The negro left us and as Craig started to enter, I 
objected, '' But, Craig, it was fifty-nine, not forty-nine. 
This is the wrong room." 

'' I know it," he replied. '' I had it written in the 
book. But I want forty-nine — now. Just follow me, 
Walter." 

Nervously I followed him into the room. 

" Don't you understand ? " he went on. '' Room 
forty-nine is probably just the same as fifty-nine, ex- 
cept perhaps the pictures and furniture, only it is on 
the floor below." 

He gazed about keenly. Then he took a few steps 
to the window and threw it open. As he stood there 
he took the parts of the rods he had been carr\^ing and 
fitted them together until he had a pole some eight 
or ten feet long. At one end was a curious arrange- 
ment that seemed to contain lenses and a mirror. At 



96 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

the other end was an eye-piece, as nearly as I could 
make out. 

" What is that ? " I asked as he completed his work. 

*' That ? That is an instrument something on the or- 
der of a miniature submarine periscope," Craig re- 
plied, still at work. 

I watched him, fascinated at his resourcefulness. 
He stealthily thrust the mirror end of the periscope 
out of the window and up toward the corresponding 
window up stairs. Then he gazed eagerly through the 
eye-piece. 

*' Walter — look ! " he exclaimed to me. 

I did. There, sure enough, was Michael, pacing up 
and down the room. He had already preceded us. 
In his scared and stealthy manner, he had entered the 
Raines Law hotel which announced '' Furnished 
Rooms for Gentlemen Only." There he had sought 
a room, fifty-nine, as he had said. 

As he came into the room, he had looked about, over- 
come by the enormity of what he was about to do. 
He locked the door. Still, he had not been able to 
avoid gazing about fearfully, as he was doing now that 
we saw him. 

Nothing had happened. Yet he brushed his hand 
over his forehead and breathed a sigh of relief. The 
air seemed to be stifling him and already he had gone 
to the window and thrown it open. Then he had 
gazed out as though there might be some unknown 
peril in the very air. He had now drawn back from 
the window and was considering. He was actually 
trembling. Should he flee? He whistled softly to 
himself to keep his shaking fears under control. 



THE POISONED ROOM 97 

Then he started to pace up and down the room in 
nervous impatience and irresolution. 

As I looked at him nerv^ously walking to and fro, 
I could not help admitting that things looked safe 
enough and all right to me. Kennedy folded the peri- 
scope up and we left our room, mounting the remain- 
ing flight of stairs. 

In fifty-nine we could hear the measured step of 
the footman. Craig knocked. The footsteps ceased. 
Then the door opened slowly and I could see a cold 
blue automatic. 

" Look out ! " I cried. 

Michael in his fear had drawn a gun. 

*^ It's all right, Michael," reassured Craig calmly. 
'' All right, Walter,'' he added to me. 

The gun dropped back into the footman's pocket. 
We entered and Michael again locked the door. Not 
a word had been spoken by him so far. 

Next ]\Iichael moved to the center of the room and, 
as I realized later, brought himself in direct lines with 
the open window. He seemed to be overcome with 
fear at his betrayal and stood there breathing heavily. 

'' Professor Kennedy," he began, '' I have been so 
mistreated that I have made up my mind to tell you all 
I know about this Clutching — " 

Suddenly he drew a sharp breath and both his hands 
clutched at his own breast. He did not stagger and 
fall in the ordinary manner, but seemed to bend at 
the knees and waist and literally crumple down on his 
face. 

We ran to him. Craig turned him over gently on 
his back and examined him. He called. No answer. 
Michael was almost pulseless. 



98 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Quickly Craig tore oflf his collar and bared his 
breast, for the man seemed to be struggling for 
breath. As he did so, he drew from Michael's chest 
a small, sharp-pointed dart. 

''What's that?'' I ejaculated, horror stricken. 

" A poisoned blow gun dart such as is used by tho 
South American Indians on the upper Orinoco," he 
said slowly. 

He examined it carefully. 

" What is the poison ? " I asked. 

" Curari," he repHed simply. " It acts on the re- 
spiratory muscles, paralyzing them, and causing 
asphyxiation." 

The dart seemed to have been made of a quill with 
a very sharp point, hollow, and containing the deadly 
poison in the sharpened end. 

'' Look out ! " I cautioned as he handled it. 

" Oh, that's all right," he answered casually. "If 
I don't scratch myself, I am safe enough. I could 
swallow the stuff and it wouldn't hurt me — unless I 
had an abrasion of the lips or some internal cut." 

Kennedy continued to examine the dart until sud- 
denly I heard a low exclamation of surprise from him. 
Inside the hollow quill was a thin sheet of tissue paper, 
tightly rolled. He drew it out and read : 

*' To know me is death 
Kennedy — Take Warning ! " 

Underneath was the inevitable Clutching Hand sign. 

We jumped to our feet. Kennedy rushed to the 
window and slammed it shut, while I seized the key 
from Michael's pocket, opened the door and called 
for help. 



THE POISONED ROOM 99 

A moment before, on the roof of a building across 
the street, one might have seen a bent, skulking figure. 
His face was copper colored and on his head was a 
thick thatch of matted hair. He looked like a South 
American Indian, in a very dilapidated suit of cast- 
ofif American clothes. 

He had slipped out through a doorway leading to a 
flight of steps from the roof to the hallway of the 
tenement. His fatal dart sent on its unerring mission 
with a precision born of long years in the South 
American jungle, he concealed the deadly blow-gun in 
his breast pocket, with a cruel smile, and, like one of 
his native venomous serpents, wormed his way down 
the stairs again. 

My outcry brought a veritable battalion of aid. 
The hotel proprietor, the negro waiter, and several 
others dashed upstairs, followed shortly by a portly 
policeman, puffing at the exertion. 

" What's the matter, here ? " he panted. '' Ye're all 
under arrest ! " 

Kennedy quietly pulled out his card case and taking 
the policeman aside showed it to him. 

" We had an appointment to meet this man — in 
that Clutching Hand case, you know. He is Miss 
Dodge's footman," Craig explained. 

Then he took the policeman into his confidence, 
showing him the dart and explaining about the poison. 
The officer stared blankly. 

" I must get away, too," hurried on Craig. 
*' Officer, I will leave you to take charge here. You 
can depend on me for the inquest." 

The officer nodded. 



loo THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" Come on, Walter," whispered Craig, eager to get 
away, then adding the one word, '' Elaine ! '' 

I followed hastily, not slow to understand his fear 
for her. 

Nor were Craig's fears groundless. In spite of all 
that could be done for her, Elaine was still in bed, 
much weaker now than before. While we had been 
gone. Dr. Hayward, Aunt Josephine and Marie were 
distracted. 

More than that, the Clutching Hand had not neg- 
lected the opportunity, either. 

Suddenly, just before our return, a stone had come 
hurtling through the window, without warning of any 
kind, and had landed on Elaine's bed. 

Below, as we learned some time afterwards, a car 
had drawn up hastily and the evil-faced crook whom 
the Clutching Hand had used to rid himself of the 
informer, " Limpy Red," had leaped out and hurled 
the stone through the window, as quickly leaping back 
into the car and whisking away. 

Elaine had screamed. All had reached for the 
stone. But she had been the first to seize it and dis- 
cover that around it was wrapped a piece of paper on 
which was the ominous warning, signed as usual by 
the Hand : 

" Michael is dead. 

Tomorrow, you. 

Then Kennedy. 

Stop before it is too late." 

Elaine had sunk back into her pillows, paler than 
ever from this second shock, while the others, as they 



THE POISONED ROOM loi 

read the note, were overcome by alarm and despair, at 
the suddenness of the thing. 

It was just then that Kennedy and I arrived and 
were admitted. 

" Oh, Mr. Kennedy," cried Elaine, handing him the 
note. 

Craig took it and read. '^ Miss Dodge," he said, as 
he held the note out to me, " you are suffering from 
arsenic poisoning — but I don't know yet how it is be- 
ing administered." 

He gazed about keenly. Meanwhile, I had taken 
the crumpled note from him and was reading it. 
Somehow, I had leaned against the wall. As I turned, 
Craig happened to glance at me. 

'' For heaven's sake, Walter," I heard him exclaim, 
^* What have you been up against ? " 

He fairly leaped at me and I felt him examining 
my shoulder where I had been leaning on the wall. 
Something on the paper had come off and had left a 
w^hite mark on my shoulder. Craig looked puzzled 
from me to the wall. 

*' Arsenic ! " he cried. 

He whipped out a pocket lens and looked at the 
paper. ^' This heavy fuzzy paper is fairly loaded with 
it, powdered," he reported. 

I looked, too. The powdered arsenic was plainly 
discernible. *' Yes, here it is," he continued, stand- 
ing absorbed in thought. " But why did it work so 
effectively ? " 

He sniffed as he had before. So did I. There was 
still the faint smell of garlic. Kennedy paced the 
room. Suddenly, pausing by the register, an idea 
seemed to strike him. 



102 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" Walter/' he whispered, '' come down cellar with 
me." 

" Oh — be careful," cried Elaine, anxious for him. 

" I will," he called back. 

As he flashed his pocket electric bull's-eye about, his 
gaze fell on the electric meter. He paused before it. 
In spite of the fact that it was broad daylight, it was 
running. His face puckered. 

*' They are using no current at present in the house," 
he ruminated. " Yet the meter is running." 

He continued to examine the meter. Then he be- 
gan to follow the electric wires along. At last he dis- 
covered a place where they had been tampered with 
and tapped by other wires. 

" The work of the Clutching Hand ! " he muttered. 

Eagerly he followed the wires to the furnace and 
around to the back. There they led right into a little 
water tank. Kennedy yanked them out. As he did 
so he pulled something with them. 

" Two electrodes — the villain placed there," he 
exclaimed, holding them up triumphantly for me to see. 

" Y-yes," I replied dubiously, " but what does it all 
mean ? " 

" Why, don't you see? Under the influence of the 
electric current the water was decomposed and gave 
off oxygen and hydrogen. The free hydrogen passed 
up the furnace pipe and combining with the arsenic 
in the wall paper formed the deadly arseniuretted 
hydrogen." 

He cast the whole improvised electrolysis apparatus 
on the floor and dashed up the cellar steps. 

" I've found it ! " he cried, hurrying into Elaine's 



THE POISONED ROOM 103 

room. '^ It's in this room — a deadly gas — ar- 
seniuretted hydrogen." 

He tore open the windows and threw them all open. 
'' Have her moved," he cried to Aunt Josephine. 
'' Then have a vacuum cleaner go over every inch of 
wall, carpet and upholstery." 

Standing beside her, he breathlessly explained his 
discovery. '' That wall paper has been loaded down 
with arsenic, probably Paris green or Schweinfurth 
green, which is aceto-arsenite of copper. Every min- 
ute you are here, you are breathing arseniuretted hy- 
drogen. The Clutching Hand has cleverly contrived 
to introduce the nascent gas into the room. That acts 
on the arsenic compounds in the wall paper and hang- 
ings and sets free the gas. I thought I knew the 
smell the moment I got a whiff of it. You are slowly 
being poisoned by minute quantities of the deadly gas. 
This Clutching Hand is a diabolical genius. Think of 
it — poisoned wall paper ! " 

No one said a word. Kennedy reached down and 
took the two Clutching Hand messages Elaine had re- 
ceived. " I shall want to study these notes, more^ 
too," he said, holding them up to the wall at the head 
of the bed as he flashed his pocket lens at them. 
'' You see, Elaine, I may be able to get something 
from studying the ink, the paper, the handwriting — " 

Suddenly both leaped back, with a cry. 

Their faces had been several inches apart. Some- 
thing had whizzed between them and literally impaled 
the two notes on the wall. 

Down the street, on the roof of a carriage house, 
back of a neighbor's, might have been seen the un- 
couth figure of the dilapidated South American In- 



I04 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

dian crouching behind a chimney and gazing intently 
at the Dodge house. 

As Craig had thrown open Elaine's window and 
turned to Elaine, the figure had crouched closer to his 
chimney. 

Then with an uncanny determination he slowly 
raised the blow-gun to his lips. 

I jumped forward, followed by Dr. Hayward, Aunt 
Josephine, and Marie. Kennedy had a peculiar look 
as he pulled out from the wall a blow-gun dart similar 
in every way to that which had killed Michael. 

" Craig ! " gasped Elaine, reaching up and laying 
her soft white hand on his arm in undisguised fear 
for him, '' you — you must give up this chase for the 
Clutching Hand!" 

" Give up the chase for the Clutching Hand ? " he 
repeated in surprise. " Never ! Not until either he 
or I is dead ! " 

There was both fear and admiration mingled in 
her look, as he reached down and patted her dainty 
shoulder encouragingly. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE VAMPIRE 

Kennedy went the next day to the Dodge house, and, 
as usual, Perry Bennett was there in the library with 
Elaine, still going over the Clutching Hand case, in 
their endeavor to track down the mysterious master 
criminal. 



THE VAMPIRE ' 105 

Bennett seemed as deeply as ever in love with 
Elaine. Still, as Jennings admitted Craig, it was suffi- 
ciently evident by the manner in which Elaine left 
Bennett and ran to meet Craig that she had the high- 
est regard for him. 

" IVe brought you a little document that may in- 
terest you," remarked Kennedy, reaching into his 
pocket and pulling out an envelope. 

Elaine tore it open and looked at the paper within. 

" Oh, how thoughtful of you ! '' she exclaimed in sur- 
prise. 

It was a permit from the police made out in her 
name allowing her to carry a revolver. 

A moment later, Kennedy reached into his coat 
pocket and produced a little automatic which he handed 
to her. 

** Thank you," she cried eagerly. 

Elaine examined the gun with interest, then, raising 
it, pointed it playfully at Bennett. 

"Oh — no — no!" exclaimed Kennedy, taking her 
arm quickly, and gently deflecting the weapon away. 
" You mustn't think it is a toy. It explodes at a 
mere touch of the trigger — when that safety ratchet 
is turned." 

Bennett had realized the danger and had jumped 
back, almost mechanically. As he did so, he bumped 
into a suit of medieval armor standing by the wall, 
knocking it over with a resounding crash. 

*' I beg pardon," he ejaculated, '' Fm very sorry. 
That was very awkward of me." 

Jennings, who had been busy about the portieres at 
the doorway, started to pick up the fallen knight. 
Some of the pieces were broken, and the three gath- 



io6 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

ered about as the butler tried to fit them together again 
as best he could. 

*^ Too bad, too bad/' apologized Bennett profusely. 
" I really forgot how close I was to the thing." 

" Oh, never mind/' returned Elaine, a little crest- 
fallen, '* It is smashed all right — but it was my fault. 
Jennings, send for someone to repair it." 

She turned to Kennedy. " But I do wish you would 
teach me how to use this thing," she added, touching 
the automatic gingerly. 

'' Gladly," he returned. 

"Won't you join us, Mr. Bennett?" asked Elaine. 

" No," the young lawyer smiled, '' I'm afraid I can't. 
You see, I had an engagement with another client 
and I'm already late." 

He took his hat and coat and, with a reluctant fare- 
well, moved toward the hallway. 

A moment later Elaine and Craig followed, while 
Jennings finished restoring the armor as nearly as 
possible as it had been. 

It was late that night that a masked figure suc- 
ceeded in raising itself to the narrow ornamental ledge 
under Elaine's bedroom window. 

Elaine was a light sleeper and, besides. Rusty, her 
faithful collie, now fully recovered from the poison, 
was in her room. 

Rusty growled and the sudden noise wakened her. 

Startled, Elaine instantly thought of the automatic. 
She reached under her pillow, keeping very quiet, and 
drew forth the gun that Craig had given her. Stealth- 
ily concealing her actions under the .covers, she levelled 




'^ ^ 



THE VAMPIRE 107 

the automatic at the figure silhouetted in her window 
and fired three times. 

The figure fell back. 

Down in the street, below, the assistant of the 
Clutching Hand who had waited while Taylor Dodge 
was electrocuted, was waiting now as his confederate, 
" Pitts Slim " — which indicated that he was both wiry 
in stature and libellous in delegating his nativity — 
made the attempt. 

As Slim came tumbling down, having fallen back 
from the window above, mortally wounded, the con- 
federate lifted him up and carried him out of sight 
hurriedly. 

Elaine, by this time, had turned on the lights and 
had run to the window to look out. Rusty was bark- 
ing loudly. 

In a side street, nearby, stood a waiting automobile, 
at the wheel of which sat another of the emissaries of 
the Clutching Hand. The driver looked up, startled, as 
he saw his fellow hurry around the corner carrying 
the wounded Pitts Slim. It was the work of just a 
moment to drop the wounded man, as comfortably as 
possible under the circumstances, in the rear seat, while 
his pals started the car ofif with a jerk in the hurry 
of escape. 

Jennings, having hastily slipped his trousers on over 
his pajamas came running down the hall, while Marie, 
frightened, came in the other direction. Aunt Joseph- 
ine appeared a few seconds later, adding to the gen- 
eral excitement. 

" What's the matter? '' she asked, anxiously. 

" A burglar, I think," exclaimed Elaine, still hold- 



io8 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

ing the gun in her hand. '' Someone tried to get into 
my window." 

" My gracious," cried Aunt Josephine, in alarm, 
'' where will this thing end ? " 

Elaine was doing her best now to quiet the fears of 
her aunt and the rest of the household. 

" Well," she laughed, a little nervously, now that it 
was all over, " I want you all to go to bed and stop 
worrying about me. Don't you see, Fm perfectly able 
to take care of myself ? Besides, there isn't a chance, 
now, of the burglar coming back. Why, I shot him." 

'' Yes," put in Aunt Josephine, " but — " 

Elaine laughingly interrupted her and playfully 
made as though she were driving them out of her 
room, although they were all very much concerned over 
the affair. However, they went finally, and she locked 
the door. 

" Rusty ! " she galled, " Down there ! " 

The intelligent collie seemed to understand. He 
lay down by the doorway, his nose close to the bottom 
of the door and his ears alert. 

Finally Elaine, too, retired again. 

Meanwhile the wounded man was being hurried to 
one of the hangouts of the mysterious Clutching Hand, 
an old-fashioned house in the Westchester suburbs. 
It was a carefully hidden place, back from the main 
road, surrounded by trees, with a driveway leading up 
to it. 

The car containing the wounded Pitts Slim drew up 
and the other two men leaped out of it. With a 
hurried glance about, they unlocked the front door 
with a pass-key and entered, carrying the man. 



THE VAMPIRE 109 

Indoors was another emissary of the Clutching 
Hand, a rather studious looking chap. 

'' Why, what's the matter ? " he exclaimed, as the 
crooks entered his room, supporting their half-faint- 
ing, wounded pal. 

'' Slim got a couple of pills,'' they panted, as they 
laid him on a couch. 

'' How ? " demanded the other. 

'' Trying to get into the Dodge house. Elaine did 
it." 

Slim was, quite evidently, badly wounded and was 
bleeding profusely. A glance at him was enough for 
the studious-looking chap. He went to a secret panel 
and, pressing it down, took out what was apparently 
a house telephone. 

In another part of this mysterious house was the 
secret room of the Clutching Hand himself where he 
hid his identity from even his most trusted followers. 
It was a small room, lined with books on every con- 
ceivable branch of science that might aid him and con- 
taining innumerable little odds and ends of parapher- 
nalia that might help in his nefarious criminal career. 

His telephone rang and he took down the receiver. 

" Pitts Slim's been wounded — badly — Chief," was 
all he waited to hear. 

With scarcely a word, he hung up the receiver, then 
opened a table drawer and took out his masking hand- 
kerchief. Next he went to a nearby bookcase, pressed 
another secret spring, and a panel opened. He passed 
through, the handkerchief adjusted. 

Across, in the larger, outside study, another panel 
opened and the Clutching Hand, all crouched up, trans- 
formed, appeared. Without a word he advanced to 



no THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

the couch on which the wounded crook lay and ex- 
amined him. 

'' How did it happen ? " he asked at length. 

'' Miss Dodge shot him/' answered the others, " with 
an automatic." 

'^ That Craig Kennedy must have given it to her ! " 
he exclaimed with suppressed fury. 

For a moment the Clutching Hand stopped to con- 
sider. Then, he seized the regular telephone. 

'' Dr. Morton ? " he asked as he got the number he 
called. 

Late as it was the doctor, who was a well-known 
surgeon in that part of the country, answered, ap- 
parently from an extension of his telephone near his 
bed. 

The call was urgent and apparently from a family 
which he did not feel that he could neglect. 

" Yes, ril be there — in a few moments," he yawned, 
hanging up the receiver and getting out of bed. 

Dr. Morton was a middle-aged man, one of those 
medical men in whose judgment one instinctively re- 
lies. From the brief description of the '' hemorrhage " 
which the Clutching Hand had cleverly made over 
the wire, he knew that a life was at stake. Quickly 
he dressed and went out to his garage, back of the 
house to get his little runabout. 

It was only a matter of minutes before the doctor 
was speeding over the now deserted suburban roads, 
apparently on his errand of mercy. 

At the address that had been given him, he drew up 
to the side of the road, got out and ran up the steps 
to the door. A ring at the bell brought a sleepy man 
to the door, in his trousers and nightshirt. 



THE VAMPIRE in 

"How's the patient?'' asked Dr. Morton, eagerly. 

'* Patient ? " repeated the man, rubbing his eyes. 
" There's no one sick here." 

''Then what did you telephone for?" asked the 
doctor peevishly. 

'' Telephone ? I didn't call up anyone, I was asleep." 

Slowly it dawned on the doctor that it was a false 
alarm and that he must be the victim of some prac- 
tical joke. 

'' Well, that's a great note," he growled, as the man 
shut the door. 

He descended the steps, muttering harsh language at 
some unknown trickster. As he climbed back into his 
machine and made ready to start, two men seemed to 
rise before him, as if from nowhere. 

As a matter of fact, they had been sent there by the 
Clutching Hand and were hiding in a nearby cellar 
way until their chance came. 

One man stood on the running board, on either side 
of him, and two guns yawned menacingly at him. 

" Drive ahead — that way ! " muttered one man, seat- 
ing himself in the runabout with his gun close to the 
doctor's ribs. 

The other kept his place on the running board, and 
on they drove in the direction of the mysterious, dark 
house. Half a mile, perhaps, down the road, they 
halted and left the car beside the walk. 

Dr. IMorton was too surprised to mar\'el at any- 
thing now and he realized that he was in the power of 
two desperate men. Quickly, they blindfolded him. 

It seemed an interminable walk, as they led him about 
to confuse him, but at last he could feel that they had 
taken him into a house and along passageways, w^hich 



112 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

they were making unnecessarily long in order to de- 
stroy all recollection that they could. Finally he knew 
that he was in a room in which others were present. 
He suppressed a shudder at the low, menacing voices. 

A moment later he felt them remove the bandage 
from his eyes, and, blinking at the light, he could see 
a hard-faced fellow, pale and weak, on a blood-stained 
couch. Over him bent a masked man and another man 
stood nearby, endeavoring by improvised bandages to 
stop the flow of blood. 

'' What can you do for this fellow ? " asked the 
masked man. 

Dr. Morton, seeing nothing else to do, for he was 
more than outnumbered now, bent down and examined 
him. 

As he rose, he said, ** He will be dead from loss of 
blood by morning, no matter if he is properly band- 
aged." 

" Is there nothing that can save him ? " whispered 
the Clutching Hand hoarsely. 

" Blood transfusion might save him," replied the 
Doctor. " But so much blood would be needed that 
whoever gives it would be liable to die himself." 

Clutching Hand stood silent a- moment, thinking, as 
he gazed at the man who had been one of his chief re- 
liances. Then, with a m.enacing gesture, he spoke in a 
low, bitter tone. 

'' She who shot him shall supply the blood." 

A few quick directions followed to his subordinates, 
and as he made ready to go, he muttered, " Keep the 
doctor here. Don't let him stir from the room." 

Then, with the man who had aided him in the 



THE VAMPIRE 113 

murder of Taylor Dodge, he sallied out into the black- 
ness that precedes dawn. 

It was just before early daybreak when the Clutch- 
ing Hand and his confederate reached the Dodge 
House in the city and came up to the back door, over 
the fences. As they stood there, the Clutching Hand 
produced a master key and started to open the door. 
But before he did so, he took out his watch. 

'' Let me see,'' he ruminated. " Twenty minutes 
past four. At exactly half past, I want you to do as 
I told you — see ? '' 

The other crook nodded. 

*' You may go," ordered the Clutching Hand. 

As the crook slunk away. Clutching Hand stealthily 
let himself into the house. Noiselessly he prowled 
through the halls until he came to Elaine's doorway. 

He gave a hasty look up and down the hall. There 
was no sound. Quickly he took a syringe from his 
pocket and bent down by the door. Inserting the end 
under it, he squirted some liquid through which vapor- 
ized rapidly in a wide, fine stream of spray. Before 
he could give an alarm, Rusty was overcome by the 
noxious fumes, rolled over on his back and lay still. 

Outside, the other crook was waiting, looking at his 
watch. As the hand slowly turned the half hour, he 
snapped the watch shut. With a quick glance up and 
down the deserted street, he deftly started up the rain 
pipe that passed near Elaine's window. 

This time there was no faithful Rusty to give warn- 
ing and the second intruder, after a glance at Elaine, 
still sleeping, went quickly to the door, dragged the in- 
sensible dog out of the way, turned the key and ad- 



114 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

mitted the Clutching Hand. As he did so he closed 
the door. 

Evidently the fumes had not reached Elaine, or if 
they had, the inrush of fresh air revived her, for she 
w^aked and quickly reached for the gun. In an in- 
stant the other crook had leaped at her. Holding his 
hand over her mouth to prevent her screaming he 
snatched the revolver away before she could fire it. 

In the meantime the Clutching Hand had taken out 
some chloroform and, rolling a towel in the form of a 
cone, placed it over her face. She struggled, gasping 
and gagging, but the struggles grew weaker and 
weaker and finally ceased altogether. 

When Elaine was completely under the influence of 
the drug, they lifted her out of bed, the chloroform 
cone still over her face, and quietly carried her to the 
door which they opened stealthily. 

Downstairs they carried her until they came to the 
library with its new safe and there they placed her on 
a couch. 

At an early hour an express wagon stopped before 
the Dodge house and Jennings, half dressed, answered 
the bell. 

*' We've come for that broken suit of armor to be re- 
paired," said a workman. 

Jennings let the men in. The armor was still on 
the stand and the repairers took armor, stand, and all, 
laying it on the couch where they wrapped it in the 
'covers they had brought for the purpose. They lifted 
it up and started to carry it out. 

'' Be careful," cautioned the thrifty Jennings. 




a 



THE VAMPIRE 115 

Rusty, now recovered, was barking and sniffing at 
the armor. 

" Kick the mutt off/' growled one man. 

The other did so and Rusty snarled and snapped at 
him. Jennings took him by the collar and held him as 
the repairers went out, loaded the armor on the wagon, 
and drove off. 

Scarcely had they gone, while Jennings straightened 
out the disarranged librar}', when Rusty began jump- 
ing about, barking furiously. Jennings looked at him 
in amazement, as the dog ran to the window and leaped 
out. 

He had no time to look after the dog, though, for at 
that ven^ instant he heard a voice calling, " Jennings ! 
Jennings ! '' 

It was Marie, almost speechless. He followed her 
as she led the way to Miss Elaine's room. There 
Marie pointed mutely at the bed. 

Elaine was not there. 

There, too, were her clothes, neatly folded, as Marie 
had hung them for her. 

*' Something must have happened to her 1 " wailed 
Marie. 

Jennings was now thoroughly alarmed. 

^leanwhile the express wagon outside was driving 
off, with Rusty tearing after it. 

'' What's the matter ? '" cried Aunt Josephine coming 
in where the footman and the maid were arguing what 
was to be done. 

She gave one look at the bed, the clothes, and the 
servants. 

''' Call ^Ir. Kennedv ! '* she cried in alarm. 



ii6 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" Elaine is gone — no one knows how or where/' 
announced Craig as he leaped out of bed that morning 
to answer the furious ringing of our telephone bell. 

It was very early, but Craig dressed hurriedly and 
I followed as best I could, for he had the start of me, 
tieless and collarless. 

When we arrived at the Dodge house. Aunt Joseph- 
ine and Marie were fully dressed. Jennings let us in. 

'' What has happened ? " demanded Kennedy breath- 
lessly. 

While Aunt Josephine tried to tell him, Craig was 
busy examining the room. 

*' Let us see the library,'' he said at length. 

Accordingly down to the library we went. Kennedy 
looked about. He seemed to miss something. 

** Where is the armor ? " he demanded. 

" Why, the men came for it and took it away to re- 
pair," answered Jennings. 

Kennedy's brow clouded in deep thought. 

Outside we had left our taxi, waiting. The door 
was open and a new footman, James, was sweeping the 
rug, when past him flashed a dishevelled hairy streak. 

We were all standing there still as Craig questioned 
Jennings about the armor. With a yelp Rusty tore 
frantically into the room. A moment he stopped and 
barked. We all looked at him in surprise. Then, as 
no one moved, he seemed to single out Kennedy. He 
seized Craig's coat in his teeth and tried to drag him 
out. 

'' Here, Rusty — down, sir, down ! " called Jennings. 

'' No, Jennings, no," interposed Craig. " What's the 
matter, old fellow ? " 

Craig patted Rusty whose big brown eyes seemed 



THE VAMPIRE 117 

mutely appealing. Out of the doorway he went, bark- 
ing still. Craig and I followed while the rest stood 
in the vestibule. 

Rusty was trying to lead Kennedy down the street ! 

" Wait here/' called Kennedy to Aunt Josephine, as 
he stepped with me on the running board of the cab. 
'' Go on, Rusty, good dog ! " 

Rusty needed no urging. With an eager yelp he 
started off, still barking, ahead of us, our car follow- 
ing. On we went, much to the astonishment of those 
who were on the street at such an early hour. 

It seemed miles that we went, but at last we came to 
a peculiarly deserted looking house. Here Rusty 
turned in and began scratching at the door. We 
jumped off the cab and followed. 

The door was locked when we tried and from in- 
side we could get no answer. We put our shoulders 
to it and burst it in. Rusty gave a leap forward with 
a joyous bark. 

We followed, more cautiously. There were pieces 
of armor strewn all over the floor. Rusty sniffed at 
them and looked about, disappointed, then howled. 

I looked from the armor to Kennedy, in blank 
amazement. 

'' Elaine was kidnapped — in the armor," he cried. 

He was right. Meanwhile, the armor repairers had 
stopped at last at this apparently deserted house, a 
strange sort of repair shop. Still keeping it wrapped 
in blankets, they had taken the armor out of the wagon 
and now laid it down on an old broken bed. Then they 
had unwrapped it and taken off the helmet. 

There was Elaine ! 



ii8 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

She had been stupefied, bound and gagged. Piece 
after piece of the armor they removed, finding her 
still only half conscious. 

'' Sh! What's that? '' cautioned one of the men. 

They paused and listened. Sure enough, there was a 
sound outside. They opened the window cautiously. 
A dog was scratching on the door, endeavoring to get 
in. It was Rusty. 

'' I think it's her dog," said the man, turning. 
" We'd better let him in. Someone might see him." 

The other nodded and a moment later the door 
opened and in ran Rusty. Straight to Elaine he went, 
starting to lick her hand. 

'^ Right — her dog," exclaimed the other man draw- 
ing a gun and hastily levelling it at Rusty. 

" Don't ! " cautioned the first. " It would make too 
much noise. You'd better choke him ! " 

The fellow grabbed for Rusty. Rusty was too 
quick. He jumped. Around the room they ran. 
Rusty saw the wide open window — and his chance. 
Out he went and disappeared, leaving the man cussing 
at him. 

A moment's argument followed, then, they wrapped 
Elaine in the blankets alone, still bound and gagged, 
and carried her out. 

In the secret den, the Clutching Hand was waiting, 
gazing now and then at his watch, and then at the 
wounded man before him. In a chair his first assist- 
ant sat, watching Dr. Morton. 

A knock at the door caused them to turn their 
heads. The crook opened it and in walked the other 
crooks who had carried ofif Elaine in the suit of armor. 



THE VAMPIRE 119 

Elaine was now almost conscious, as they sat her 
down in a chair and partly loosed her bonds and the 
gag. She gazed about, frightened. 

^^ Oh — help! help!" she screamed as she caught 
sight of the now familiar mask of the Clutching 
Hand. 

'' Call all you want — here, young lady," he laughed 
unnaturally. " Xo one can hear. These walls are 
soundproof ! " 

Elaine shrank back. 

'' Now, doc," he added harshly to Dr. :\Iorton. '' It 
was she who shot him. Her blood must save him." 

Dr. ilorton recoiled at the thought of torturing the 
beautiful young girl before him. 

" Are — you willing — to have your blood trans- 
fused?" he parleyed. 

^' No — no — no ! " she cried in horror. 

Dr. ]\Iorton turned to the desperate criminal. '' I 
cannot do it." 

'' The deuce you can't ! " 

A cold steel revolver pressed down on Dr. Morton's 
stomach. In the other hand the master crook held 
his watch. 

" You have just one minute to make up your mind." 

Dr. ]\Iorton shrank back. The revolver followed. 
The pressure of a fly's foot meant eternity for him. 

"I — I'll try!" 

The other crooks next carried Elaine, struggling, and 
threw her down beside the wounded man. Together 
they arranged another couch beside him. 

Dr. Morton, still covered by the gun, bent over the 
two, the hardened criminal and the delicate, beautiful 
girl. Clutching Hand glared fiendishly, insanely. 



I20 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

From his bag he took a little piece of something that 
shone like silver. It was in the form of a minute, 
hollow cylinder, with two grooves on it, a cylinder so 
tiny that it would scarcely have slipped over the point 
of a pencil. 

*' A cannulla," he explained, as he prepared to make 
an incision in Elaine's arm and in the arm of the 
wounded rogue. 

He cuffed it over the severed end of the artery, so 
cleverly that the inner linings of the vein and artery, 
the endothelium as it is called, were in complete con- 
tact with each other. 

Clutching Hand watched eagerly, as though he had 
found some new, scientific engine of death in the little 
hollow cylinder. 

A moment and the blood that was, perhaps, to save 
the life of the wounded felon was coursing into his 
veins from Elaine. 

A moment later. Dr. Morton looked up at the Clutch- 
ing Hand and nodded, *' Well, it's working ! " 

At Elaine's head. Clutching Hand himself was ad- 
ministering just enough ether to keep her under and 
prevent a struggle that would wreck all. The wounded 
man had not been anesthetized and seemed feebly con- 
scious of what was being done to save him. 

All were now bending over the two. 

Dr. Morton bent closest over Elaine. He looked at 
her anxiously, felt her pulse, watched her breathing, 
then pursed up his lips. 

" This is — dangerous," he ventured, gazing askance 
at the grim Clutching Hand. 

'' Can't help it," came back laconically and relent- 
lessly. 



• _ : 




--■r^-^ 


^t^'^^IHS 


^^^^jWf^^SM:''' - 





I 

n3 



a 



THE VAMPIRE 121 

The doctor shuddered. 

The man was a veritable vampire ! 

Outside the deserted house, Kennedy and I were 
looking helplessly about. 

Suddenly Kennedy dashed back and reappeared a 
minute later with a couple of pieces of armor. He 
held them down to Rusty and the dog sniffed at them. 

But Rusty stood still. 

Kennedy pointed to the ground. 

Nothing doing. In leading us where he had been 
before, Rusty had reached the end of his canine abil- 
ity. 

Everything we could do to make Rusty understand 
that we wanted him to follow a trail was unavailing. 
He simply could not do it. Kennedy coaxed and 
scolded. Rusty merely sat up on his hind legs and 
begged with those irresistible brown eyes. 

^' You can't make a bloodhound out of a :collie," 
despaired Craig, looking about again helplessly. 

Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a 
police whistle. He blew three sharp blasts. 

Would it bring help? 

While we were thus despairing, the continued ab- 
sence of Dr. Morton from home had alarmed his 
family and had set in motion another train of events. 

When he did not return, and could not be located 
at the place to which he was supposed to have gone, 
several policemen had been summoned to his house, 
and they had come, finally, with real bloodhounds 
from a suburban station. 

There were the tracks of his car. That the police 



122 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

themselves could follow, while two men came along 
holding in leash the pack, leaders of which were 
'' Searchlight " and " Bob." 

It had not been long before the party came across 
the deserted runabout beside the road. There they 
had stopped, for a nioment. 

If w^as just then that they heard Kennedy's call, and 
one of them had been detailed to answer it. 

''Well, what do you want?" asked the officer, eye- 
ing Kennedy suspiciously as he stood there with the 
armor. '' What's them pieces of tin — hey? " 

Kennedy quickly flashed his own special badge. '' I 
w^ant to trail a girl," he exclaimed hurriedly. '' Can I 
find a bloodhound about here?" 

'' A hound? Why, we have a pack — over there." 

*' Bring them — quick ! " ordered Craig. 

The policeman, who was an intelligent fellow, saw 
at once that, as Kennedy said, the two trails probably 
crossed. He shouted and in a few seconds the others, 
with the pack, came. 

A brief parley resulted in our joining forces. 

Kennedy held the armor down to the dogs. 
'' Searchlight " gave a low whine, then, followed by 
" Bob " and the others, was off, all with noses close to 
the ground. We followed. 

The armor was, after all, the missing link. 

Through woods and fields the dogs led us. 

Would we be in time to rescue Elaine? 

In the mysterious haunt of the Clutching Hand, all 
were still standing around Elaine and the wounded 
Pitts Slim.. 

Just then a cry from one of the group startled the 



THE VAMPIRE 123 

rest. One of them, less hardened than the Clutching 
Hand, had turned away from the sight, had gone to 
the window, and had been attracted by something out- 
side. 

*' Look ! '' he cried. 

From the absolute stillness of death, there was now 
wild excitement among the crooks. 

'• PoHce I Police ! '' they shouted to each other as 
they fled by a doonvay to a secret passage. 

Clutching Hand turned to his first assistant. 

''You — go — too," he ordered. 

The dogs had led us to a strange looking house, and 
were now baying and leaping up against the door. We 
did not stop to knock, but began to break through, for 
inside we could hear faintly sounds of excitement and 
cries of ''Police — police!'' 

The door yielded and we rushed into a long hallway. 
Up the passage we went until we came to another door. 

An instant and we were all against it. It was stout, 
but it shook before us. The panels began to yield. 

On the other side of that door from us, the master 
crook stood for a moment. Dr. ^lorton hesitated, not 
knowing quite what to do. 

Just then the wounded Pitts Slim lifted his hand 
feebly. He seemed vaguely to understand that the 
game was up. He touched the Clutching Hand. 

" You did your best. Chief," he murmured thickly. 
" Beat it, if you can. I'm a goner, anyway.'' 

Clutching Hand hesitated by the wounded crook. 
This was the loyalty of gangland, worthy a better 



124 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

cause. He could not bring himself to desert his paL 
He was undecided, still. 

But there was the door, bulging, and a panel burst- 
ing. 

He moved over to a panel in the wall and pushed a 
spring. It slid open and he stepped through. Then 
it closed — not a second too soon. 

Back in his private room, he quickly stepped to a 
curtained iron door. Pushing back the curtains, he 
went through it and disappeared, the curtains falling 
back. 

At the end of the passageway, he stopped, in a sort 
of grotto or cave. As he came out, he looked back. 
All was still. No one was about. He was safe here, 
at least! 

Ofif came the mask and he turned down the road a 
few rods distant beyond some bushes, as little con- 
cerned about the wild happenings as any other passer- 
by might have been. 

At the very moment when we burst in, Dr. Morton, 
seeing his chance, stopped the blood transfusion, work- 
ing frantically to stop the flow of blood. 

Kennedy sprang to Elaine's side, horrified by the 
blood that had spattered over everything. 

With a mighty effort he checked a blow that he had 
aimed at Dr. Morton, as it flashed over him that the 
surgeon, now free again, was doing his best to save 
the terribly imperilled life of Elaine. 

Just then the police burst through the secret panel 
and rushed on, leaving us alone, with the unconscious, 
scarcely breathing Elaine. 

From the sounds we could tell that they had come to 



THE VAMPIRE 125 

the private room of the Clutching Hand. It was 
empty and they were non-plussed. 

*' Not a window ! " called one. 

" What are those curtains ? " 

They pulled them back, disclosing an iron door. 
They tried it but it was bolted on the other side. 
Blows had no effect. They had to give it up for the 
instant. 

A policeman now stood beside Elaine and the 
wounded burglar who was muttering deliriously to 
himself. 

He was pretty far gone, as the policeman knelt down 
and tried to get a statement out of him. 

" Who was that man who left you — last — the 
Clutching Hand?" 

Not a word came from the crook. 

The policeman repeated his question. 

With his last strength, he looked disdainfully at the 
officer's pad and pencil. '' The gangster never 
squeals,'' he snarled, as he fell back. 

Dr. Morton had paid no attention whatever to him, 
but was w^orking desperately now over Elaine, trying 
to bring her back to life. 

''Is she — going to — die?" gasped Craig, fran- 
tically. 

Every eye was riveted on Dr. Morton. 

'' She is all right," he muttered. '' But the man is 
going to die." 

At the sound of Craig's voice Elaine had feebly 
opened her eyes. 

" Thank heaven," breathed Craig, with a sigh of 
relief, as his hand gently stroked Elaine's unnaturally 
cold forehead. 



126 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

CHAPTER VII 

THE DOUBLE TRAP 

Mindful of the sage advice that a time of peace is 
best employed in preparing for war, I was busily en- 
gaged in cleaning my automatic gun one morning as 
Kennedy and I were seated in our living room. 

Our door buzzer sounded and Kennedy, always 
alert, jumped up, pushing aside a great pile of papers 
which had accumulated in the Dodge case. 

Two steps took him to the wall where the day be- 
fore he had installed a peculiar box about four by six 
inches long connected in some way with a lens-like 
box of similar size above our bell and speaking tube 
in the hallway below. He opened it, disclosing an 
oblong plate of ground glass. 

'' I thought the seismograph arrangement was not 
quite enough after that spring-gun affair," he re- 
marked, *' so I have put in a sort of teleview of my 
own invention — so that I can see down into the vesti- 
bule downstairs. Well — just look who's here! " 

*' Some new fandangled periscope arrangement, I 
suppose? " I queried moving slowly over toward it. 

However, one look was enough to interest me. I 
can express it only in slang. There, framed in the 
little thing, was a vision of as swell a '' chicken " as I 
have ever seen. 

I whistled under my breath. 

'' Um ! " I exclaimed shamelessly, " A peach ! 
Who's your friend ? '' 

I had never said a truer word than in my description 



THE DOUBLE TRAP 127 

of her, though I did not know it at the time. She was 
indeed known as " Gertie the Peach " in the select 
circle to which she belonged. 

Gertie was ver}^ attractive, though frightfully over- 
dressed. But, then, no one thinks anything of that 
now, in New York. 

Kennedy had opened the lower door and our fair 
visitor was coming upstairs. Meanwhile he was 
deeply in thought before the '' teleview." He made up 
his mind quickly, however. 

'' Go in there, Walter," he said, seizing me quickly 
and pushing me into my room. *' I want you to wait 
there and watch her carefully." 

I slipped the gun into my pocket and went, just as a 
knock at the door told me she was outside. 

Kennedy opened the door, disclosing a ver}^ ex- 
cited young woman. 

'' Oh, Professor Kennedy," she cried, all in one 
breath, with much emotion, ^' Fm so glad I found you 
in. I can't tell you. Oh — my jewels! They have 
been stolen — and my husband must not know of it. 
Help me to recover them — please! " 

She had not paused, but had gone on in a wild, 
voluble explanation. 

" Just a moment, my dear young lady," interrupted 
Craig, finding at last a chance to get a word in edge- 
wise. '' Do you see that table — and all those papers ? 
Really, I can't take your case. I am too busy as it is 
even to take the cases of many of my own clients." 

" But, please. Professor Kennedy — please ! " she 
begged. '' Help me. It means — oh, I can't tell you 
how much it means to me ! " '* 



128 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

She had come close to him and had laid her warm, 
little soft hand on his, in ardent entreaty. 

From my hiding place in my room, I could not help 
seeing that she was using every charm of her sex and 
personality to lure him on, as she clung confidingly to 
him. Craig was very much embarrassed, and I could 
not help a smile at his discomfiture. Seriously, I 
should have hated to have been in his position. 

Gertie had thrown her arms about Kennedy, as if 
in wildest devotion. I wondered what Elaine would 
have, thought, if she had a picture of that ! 

'' Oh," she begged him, '' please — please, help me ! '' 

Still Kennedy seemed utterly unaffected by her 
passionate embrace. Carefully he loosened her fin- 
gers from about his neck and removed the plump, en- 
ticing arms. 

Gertie sank into a chair, weeping, while Kennedy 
stood before her a moment in deep abstraction. 

Finally he seemed to make up his mind to some- 
thing. His manner toward her changed. He took a 
step to her side. 

'' I will help you," he said, laying his hand on her 
shoulder. '* If it is possible I will recover your jewels. 
Where do you live? " 

''At Hazlehurst," she replied, gratefully. ''Oh, 
Mr. Kennedy, how can I ever thank you ? " 

She seemed overcome with gratitude and took his 
hand, pressed it, even kissed it. 

" Just a minute," he added, carefully extricating 
his hand. " Til be ready in just a minute." 

Kennedy entered the room where I was listening. 

"What's it all about, Craig?" I whispered, mysti- 
fied. 



THE DOUBLE TRAP 129 

For a moment he stood thinking, apparently recon- 
sidering what he had just done. Then his second 
thought seemed to approve it. 

" This is a trap of the Clutching Hand, Walter," he 
whispered, adding tensely, '' and we're going to walk 
right into it/' 

I looked at him in. amazement. 

" But, Craig,'' I demurred, " that's foolhardy. Have 
her trailed — anything — but — " 

He shook his head and wuth a mere motion of his 
hand brushed aside my objections as he went to a 
cabinet across the room. 

From one shelf he took out a small metal box and 
from another a test tube, placing the test tube in his 
waistcoat pocket, and the small box in his coatpocket, 
with excessive care. 

Then he turned and motioned to me to follow him 
out into the other room. I did so, stuffiing my '' gatt " 
into my pocket. 

'' Let me introduce my friend, Mr. Jameson," said 
Craig, presenting me to the pretty crook. 

The introduction quickly over, we three went out to 
get Craig's car which he kept at a nearby garage. 

That forenoon. Perry Bennett was reading up a 
case. In the outer office Milton Schofield, his office 
boy, was industriously chewing gum and admiring his 
feet cocked up on the desk before him. 

The door to the waiting room opened and an attrac- 
tive woman of perhaps thirty, dressed in extreme 
mourning, entered with a boy. 

Milton cast a dance of scorn at the " little dude." 



I30 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

He was in reality about fourteen years old but was 
dressed to look much younger. 

Milton took his feet down in deference to the lady, 
but snickered openly at the boy. A fight seemed im- 
minent. 

'' Did you wish to see Mr. Bennett ? " asked the pre- 
cocious Milton politely on one hand while on the other 
he made a wry grimace. 

'' Yes — here is my card/' replied the woman. 

It was deeply bordered in black. Even Milton was 
startled at reading it : '' Mrs. Taylor Dodge.'* 

He looked at the woman in open-mouthed astonish- 
ment. Even he knew that Elaine's mother had been 
dead for years. 

The woman, however, true to her name in the artis- 
tic coterie in which she was leader, had sunk into a 
chair and was sobbing convulsively, as only " Weepy 
Mary " could. 

It was so effective that even Milton was visibly 
moved. He took the card in, excitedly, to Bennett. 

" There's a woman outside — says she is Mrs. 
Dodge ! " he cried. 

If Milton had had an X-ray eye he could have seen 
her take a cigarette from her handbag and light it 
nonchalantly the moment he was gone. 

As for Bennett, Milton, who was watching him 
closely, thought he was about to discharge him on the 
spot for bothering him. He took the card, and his 
face expressed the most extreme surprise, then anger. 
He thought a moment. 

" Tell that woman to state her business in writing,'^ 
he thundered curtly at Milton. 

As the boy turned to go back to the waiting room. 



THE DOUBLE TRAP 131 

Weepy Mary, hearing him coming, hastily shoved the 
cigarette into her '' son's " hand. 

'' Mr. Bennett says for you to write out what it is 
you want to see him about/' reported Milton, indicat- 
ing the table before which she was sitting. 

Mary had automatically taken up sobbing, with the 
release of the cigarette. She looked at the table on 
which were letter paper, pens and ink. 

" I may write here ? " she asked. 

" Surely, ma'am," replied Milton, still very much 
overwhelmed by her sorrow. 

Weepy Mary sat there, writing and sobbing. 

In the midst of his sympathy, however, Milton 
sniffed. There was an unmistakable odor of tobacco 
smoke about the room. He looked sharply at the 
'* son " and discovered the still smoking cigarette. 

It was too much for Milton's outraged dignity. 
Bennett did not allow him that coveted privilege. This 
upstart could not usurp it. 

He reached over and seized the boy by the arm and 
swung him around till he faced a sign in the corner on 
the wall. 

"See?" he demanded. 

The sign read courteously : 

'* No Smoking in This Office — Please. 

'' Perry Bennett." 

" Leggo my arm," snarled the " son," putting the 
offending cigarette defiantly into his mouth. 

Milton coolly and deliberately reached over and, 
with an exaggerated politeness swiftly and effectively 
removed it, dropping it on the floor and stamping de- 
fiantly on it. 



132 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" Son '' raised his fists pugnaciously, for he didn't 
care much for the role he was playing, anyhow. 

Milton did the same. 

There was every element of a gaudy mix-up, when 
the outer door of the office suddenly swung open and 
Elaine Dodge entered. 

Gallantry was Milton's middle name and he sprang 
forward to hold the door, and then opened Bennett's 
door, as he ushered in Elaine. 

As she passed " Weepy Mary," who was still writ- 
ing at the table and crying bitterly, Elaine hesitated 
and looked at her curiously. Even after Milton had 
opened Bennett's door, she could not resist another 
glance. Instinctively Elaine seemed to scent trouble. 

Bennett was still studying the black-bordered card, 
when she greeted him. 

** Who is that woman ? " she asked, still wondering 
about the identity of the Niobe outside. 

At first he said nothing. But finally, seeing that she 
had noticed it, he handed Elaine the card, reluctantly. 

Elaine read it with a gasp. The look of surprise 
that crossed her face was terrible. 

Before she could say anything, however, Milton had 
returned with the sheet of paper on which '' Weepy 
Mary " had written and handed it to Bennett. 

Bennett read it with uncontrolled astonishment. 

" What is it ? " demanded Elaine. 

He handed it to her and she read : 

" As the lawful wife and widow of Taylor Dodge, I 
demand my son's rights and my own. 

" Mrs. Taylor Dodge." 

Elaine gasped at It. 



THE DOUBLE TRAP 133 

'' She — my father's wife ! '' she exclaimed, *' What 
effrontery! What does she mean?" 

Bennett hesitated. 

'' Tell me/' Elaine cried, " Is there — can there be 
anything in it ? No — no — there isn't ! " 

Bennett spoke in a low tone. '' I have heard a 
whisper of some scandal or other connected with your 
father — but — " He paused. 

Elaine w^as first shocked, then indignant. 

'' Why — such a thing is absurd. Show the woman 

'' No — please — Miss Dodge. Let me deal with 
her." 

By this time Elaine was furious. 

''Yes — I ztnll see her." 

She pressed the button on Bennett's desk and Mil- 
ton responded. 

" Milton, show the — the woman in," she ordered, 
'' and that boy, too." 

As Milton turned to crook his finger at " Weepy 
Mary," she nodded surreptitiously and dug her fingers 
sharply into '' son's " ribs. 

" Yell — you little fool, — yell," she whispered. 

Obedient to his *' mother's " commands, and much 
to Milton's disgust, the boy started to cry in close imi- 
tation of his elder. 

Elaine was still holding the paper in her hands when 
they entered. 

''What does all this mean?" she demanded. 

" Weepy Mary," between sobs, managed to blurt 
out, " You are Miss Elaine Dodge, aren't you ? Well, 
it means that your father married me when I was only 
seventeen and this boy is his son — your half brother." 



134 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

''No — never," cried Elaine vehemently, unable to 
restrain her disgust. '' He never married again. He 
was too devoted to the memory of my mother." 

" Weepy Mary " smiled cynically. " Come with me 
and I will show you the church records and the min- 
ister who married us." 

''You will?" repeated Elaine defiantly. "Well, 
I'll just do as you ask. Mr. Bennett shall go with me." 

" No, no, Miss Dodge — don't go. Leave the mat- 
ter to me," urged Bennett. " I will take care of her. 
Besides, I must be in court in twenty minutes." 

Elaine paused, but she was thoroughly aroused. 

" Then I will go with her myself," she cried de- 
fiantly. 

In spite of every objection that Bennett made, 
" Weepy Mary," her son, and Elaine went out to call 
a taxicab to take them to the railroad station where 
they could catch a train to the little town where the 
woman asserted she had been married. 

Meanwhile, before a little country church in the 
town, a closed automobile had drawn up. 

As the door opened, a figure, humped up and masked, 
alighted. 

It was the Clutching Hand. 

The car had scarcely pulled away, when he gave a 
long rap, followed by two short taps, at the door of the 
vestry, a secret code, evidently. 

Inside the vestry room a well-dressed man but with 
a very sinister face heard the knock and a second later 
opened the door. 

" What — not ready yet ? " growled the Clutching 
Hand. "Quick — now — get on those clothes. I 



THE DOUBLE TRAP 135 

heard the train whistle as I came in the car. In which 
closet does the minister keep them ? " 

The crook, without a word, went to a closet and took 
out a suit of clothes of ministerial cut. Then he 
hastily put them on, adding some side-whiskers, which 
he had brought with him. 

At about the same time, Elaine, acompanied by 
" Weepy Mary '' and her ** son," had arrived at the 
little tumble-down station and had taken the only ve- 
hicle in sight, a very ancient carriage. 

It ambled along until, at last, it pulled up before the 
vestry room door of the church, just as the bogus 
minister was finishing his transformation from a frank 
crook. Clutching Hand was giving him final instruc- 
tions. 

Elaine and the others alighted and approached the 
church, while the ancient vehicle rattled away. 

'' They're coming," whispered the crook, peering 
cautiously out of the window. 

Clutching Hand moved silently and snake-like into 
the closet and shut the door. 

'' How do you do. Dr. Carton ? " greeted '' Weepy 
^Mary." '' I guess you don't remember me." 

The clerical gentleman looked at her fixedly a mo- 
ment. 

"Remember you?" he repeated. ''Of course, my 
dear. I remember even'one I marry." 

''And you remember to whom you married me?" 

" Perfectly. To an older man — a Taylor Dodge." 

Elaine was overcome. 

" Won't you step in ? " he asked suavely. " Your 
friend here doesn't seem well." 

They all entered. 



136 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" And you — you say — you married this — this 
woman to Taylor Dodge ? '' queried Elaine, tensely. 

The bogus minister seemed to be very fatherly. 
** Yes," he assented, '' I certainly did so/' 

" Have you the record ? '' asked Elaine, fighting to 
the last. 

" Why, yes. I can show you the record." 

He moved over to the closet. " Come over here," 
he asked. 

He opened the door. Elaine screamed and drew 
back. There stood her arch enemy, the Clutching 
Hand himself. 

As he stepped forth, she turned, wildly, to run — 
anywhere. But strong arms seized her and forced her 
into a chair. 

She looked at the woman and the minister. It was 
a plot ! 

A moment Clutching Hand looked Elaine over. 
** Put the others out," he ordered the other crook. 

Quickly the man obeyed, leading '' Weepy Mary " 
and her *' son " to the door, and waving them away as 
he locked it. They left, quite as much in the dark 
about the master criminal's identity as Elaine. 

'' Now, my pretty dear," began the Clutching Hand 
as the lock turned in the vestry door, *' we shall be 
joined shortly by your friend, Craig Kennedy, and," 
he added with a leer, *' I think your rather insistent 
search for a certain person will cease." 

Elaine drew back in the chair, horrified, at the im- 
plied threat. 

Clutching Hand laughed, diabolically. 

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THE DOUBLE TRAP 137 

the little church, Kennedy and I had been tearing 
across the country in his big car, following the direc- 
tions of our fair friend. 

We stopped at last before a prosperous, attractive- 
looking house and entered a very prettily furnished 
but small parlor. Heavy portieres hung over the door- 
way into the hall, over another into a back room and 
over the bay windows. 

*' Won't you sit down a moment?" coaxed Gertie. 
^* I'm quite blown to pieces after that ride. My, how 
you drive ! '' 

As she pulled aside the hall portieres, three men with 
guns thrust their hands out. I turned. Two others 
had stepped from the back room and two more from 
the bay window. We were surrounded. Seven guns 
were aimed at us with deadly precision. 

** No — no — Walter — it's no use," shouted Ken- 
nedy calmly restraining my hand which I had clapped 
on my own gun. 

At the same time, with his other hand, he took from 
his pocket the small can which I had seen him place 
there, and held it aloft. 

*^ Gentlemen," he said quietly. '' I suspected some 
such thing. I have here a small box of fulminate of 
mercury. If I drop it, this building and the entire 
vicinity will be blown to atoms. Go ahead — shoot ! " 
he added, nonchalantly. 

The seven of them drew back, rather hurriedly. 

Kennedy was a dangerous prisoner. 

He calmly sat down in an arm chair, leaning back 
as he carefully balanced the deadly little box of ful- 
minate of mercury on his knee. He placed his finger 
tips together and smiled at the seven crooks, who had 



138 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

gathered together, staring breathlessly at this man who 
toyed with death. 

Gertie ran from the room. 

For a moment they looked at each other, undecided, 
then one by one, they stepped away from Kennedy to- 
ward the door. 

The leader was the last to go. He had scarcely 
taken a step. 

" Stop! " ordered Kennedy. 

The crook did so. As Craig moved toward him, he 
waited, cold sweat breaking out on his face. 

*' Say," he whined, " you let me be ! '' 

It was ineffectual. Kennedy, still smiling confi- 
dently, came closer, still holding the deadly little box, 
balanced between two fingers. 

He took the crook's gun and dropped it into his 
pocket. 

" Sit down ! " ordered Craig. 

Outside, the other six parleyed in hoarse whispers. 
One raised a gun, but the woman and the others re- 
strained him and fled. 

'' Take me to your master ! '' demanded Kennedy. 

The crook remained silent. 

" Where is he? " repeated Craig. " Tell me ! '' 

Still the man remained silent. Craig looked the fel- 
low over again. Then, still with that confident smile, 
he reached into his inside pocket and drew forth the 
tube I had seen him place there. 

" No matter how much you accuse me," added 
Craig casually, " no one will ever take the word of a 
crook that a reputable scientist like me would do what 
I am about to do." 



THE DOUBLE TRAP 139 

He had taken out his penknife and opened it. Then 
he beckoned to me. 

*' Bare his arm and hold his wrist, Walter," he said. 

Craig bent down with the knife and the tube, then 
paused a moment and turned the tube so that we could 
see it. 

On the label were the ominous words : 

Germ culture 6248A 
Bacillus Leprae (Leprosy) 

Calmly he took the knife and proceeded to make an 
incision in the man's arm. The crook's feelings un- 
derwent a terrific struggle. 

'' No — no — no — don't/' he implored. " I will 
take you to the Clutching Hand — even if it kills 
me!" 

Kennedy stepped back, replacing the tube in his 
pocket. 

" Very well, go ahead ! " he agreed. 

We followed the crook, Craig still holding the 
deadly box of fulminate of mercury carefully balanced 
so that if anyone shot him from a hiding place it 
would drop. 

No sooner had we gone than Gertie hurried to the 
nearest telephone to inform the Clutching Hand of 
our escape. 

Elaine had sunk back into the chair, as the telephone 
rang. Clutching Hand answered it. 

A moment later, in uncontrollable fury he hurled the 
instrument to the floor. 

*' Here — we've got to act quickly — that devil has 



140 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

escaped again/' he hissed. *' We must get her away. 
You keep her here. Til be back — right away — with 
a car." 

He dashed madly from the church, pulHng off his 
mask as he gained the street. 

Kennedy had forced the crook ahead of us into the 
car which was waiting and I followed, taking the 
wheel this time. 

'' Which way, now — quick ! " demanded Craig, 
" And if you get me in wrong — IVe got that tube yet 
— you remember." 

Our crook started off with a whole burst of direc- 
tions that rivalled the motor guide — '' through the 
town, following trolley tracks, jog right, jog left under 
the R. R. bridge, leaving trolley tracks; at cemetery 
turn left, stopping at the old stone church." 

'* Is this it ? " asked Craig incredulously. 

" Yes — as I live," swore the crook in a cowed voice. 

He had gone to pieces. Kennedy jumped from the 
machine. 

" Here, take this gun, Walter," he said to me. 
" Don't take your eyes off the fellow — keep him 
covered." 

Craig walked around the church, out of sight, until 
he came to a small vestry window and looked in. 

There was Elaine, sitting in a chair, and near her 
stood an elderly looking man in clerical garb, which 
to Craig's trained eye was quite evidently a disguise. 

Elaine happened just then to glance at the window 
and her eyes grew wide with astonishment at the sight 
of Craig. 



THE DOUBLE TRAP 141 

He made a hasty motion to her to make a dash for 
the door. She nodded quietly. 

With a glance at her guardian, she suddenly made a 
rush. 

He was at her in a moment, pouncing on her, cat- 
like. 

Kennedy had seized an iron bar that lay beside the 
window where some workmen had been repairing the 
stone pavement, and, with a blow shattered the glass 
and the sash. 

At the sound of the smashing glass the crook turned 
and with a mighty effort threw Elaine aside, drawing 
his revolver. As he raised it, Elaine sprang at him 
and frantically seized his wrist. 

Utterly merciless, the man brought the butt of the 
gun down with full force on Elaine's head. Only her 
hat and hair saved her, but she sank unconscious. 

Then he turned at Craig and fired twice. 

One shot grazed Craig's hat, but the other struck 
him in the shoulder and Kennedy reeled. 

With a desperate effort he pulled himself together 
and leaped forward again, closing with the 'fellow and 
wrenching the gun from him before he could fire again. 

It fell to the floor with a clang. 

Just then the man broke away and made a dash for 
the door leading back into the church itself, with Ken- 
nedy after him. At the foot of a flight of stairs, he 
turned long enough to pick up a chair. As Kennedy 
came on, he deliberately smashed it over Craig's head. 

Kennedy warded ofT the blow as best he could, then, 
still undaunted, started up the stairs after the fellow. 

Up they went, into the choir loft and then into the 
belfry itself. There they came to sheer hand to hand 



142 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

struggle. Kennedy tripped on a loose board and 
would have fallen backwards, if he had not been able 
to recover himself just in time. The crook, desperate, 
leaped for the ladder leading further up into the stee- 
ple. Kennedy followed. 

Elaine had recovered consciousness almost imme- 
diately and, hearing the commotion, stirred and started 
to rise and look about. 

From the church she could hear sounds of the 
struggle. She paused just long enough to seize the 
crook's revolver lying on the floor. 

She hurried into the church and up into the belfry, 
thence up the ladder, whence the sounds came. 

The crook by this time had gained the outside of 
the steeple through an opening. Kennedy was in close 
pursuit. 

On the top of the steeple was a great gilded cross, 
considerably larger than a man. As the crook clam- 
bered outside, he scaled the steeple, using a lightning 
rod and some projecting points to pull himself up, 
desperately. 

Kennedy followed unhesitatingly. 

There they were, struggling in deadly combat, cling- 
ing to the gilded cross. 

The first I knew of it was a horrified gasp from my 
own crook. I looked up carefully, fearing it was a 
stall to get me oflf my guard. There were Kennedy 
and the other crook, struggling, swaying back and 
forth, between life and death. 

I looked at my man. What should I do? Should 
I leave him and go to Craig? If I did, might he not 
pick us both ofif, from a safe vantage point, by some 
sharpshooting skill? 



THE DOUBLE TRAP 143 

There was nothing I could do. 

Kennedy was clinging to a lightning rod on the 
cross. 

It broke. 

I gasped as Craig reeled back. But he managed to 
catch hold of the rod further down and cling to it. 

The crook seemed to exult diabolically. Holding 
with both hands to the cross, he let himself out to his 
full length and stamped on Kennedy's fingers, tr\'ing 
every way to dislodge him. It was all Kennedy could 
do to keep his hold. 

I cried out in agony at the sight, for he had dis- 
lodged one of Craig's hands. The other could not 
hold on much longer. He was about to fall. 

Just then I saw a face at the little window opening 
out from the ladder to the outside of the steeple — 
a woman's face, tense with horror. 

It was Elaine! 

Quickly a hand followed and in it was a revolver. 

Just as the crook was about to dislodge Kennedy's 
other hand, I saw a flash and a puff of smoke and a 
second later, heard a report — and another — and an- 
other. 

Horrors ! 

The crook who had taken refuge seemed to stagger 
back, wildly, taking a couple of steps in the thin air. 

Kennedy regained his hold. 

With a sickening thud, the body of the crook landed 
on the ground around the comer of the church from 
me. 

" Come — you ! " I ground out, covering my owm 
crook with the pistol, ** and if you attempt a getaway, 
I'll kill you, too ! '' 



144 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

He followed, trembling, unnerved. 

We bent over the man. It seemed that every bone 
in his body must be broken. He groaned, and before 
I could even attempt anything for him, he was dead. 

As Kennedy let himself slowly and painfully down 
the lightning rod, Elaine seized him and, with all her 
strength, pulled him in through the window. 

He was quite weak now from loss of blood. 

" Are you — all right ? " she gasped, as they reached 
the foot of the ladder in the belfry. 

Craig looked down at his torn and soiled clothes. 
Then, in spite of the smarting pain of his wounds, he 
smiled, ^' Yes — all right!" 

'' Thank heaven ! " she murmured fervently, trying 
to staunch the flow of blood. 

Craig gazed at her eagerly. The great look of relief 
in her face seemed to take away all the pain from his 
own face. In its place came a look of wonder — 
and hope. 

He could not resist. 

'' This time — it was you — saved me ! " he cried, 
'^Elaine!" 

Involuntarily his arms sought hers — and he held 
her a moment, looking deep into her wonderful eyes. 

Then their faces came slowly together in their first 
kiss. 



THE HIDDEN VOICE 145 

CHAPTER VIII 

THE HIDDEN VOICE 

'' Jameson — wake up ! '' 

The strain of the Dodge case was beginning to tell 
on me, for it was keeping us at work at all kinds of 
hours to circumvent the Clutching Hand, by far the 
cleverest criminal with whom Kennedy had ever had 
anything to do. 

I had slept later than usual that morning and, in a 
half doze, I heard a voice calling me, strangely like 
Kennedy's and yet unlike it. 

I leaped out of bed, still in my pajamas, and stood 
for a moment staring about. Then I ran into the liv- 
ing room. I looked about, rubbing my eyes, startled. 
No one was there. 

'' Hey — Jameson — wake up ! " 

It was spooky. 

I ran back into Craig's room. He was gone. 
There was no one in any of our rooms. The surprise 
had now thoroughly awakened me. 

" Where — the deuce — are you ? '' I demanded. 

Suddenly I heard the voice again — no doubt about 
it, either. 

'* Here I am — over on the couch ! '^ 

I scratched my head, puzzled. There was cer- 
tainly no one on that couch. 

A laugh greeted me. Plainly, though, it came from 
the couch. I w^ent over to it and, ridiculous as it 
seemed, began to throw aside the pillows. 

There lay nothing but a little oblong oaken box, 



146 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

perhaps eight or ten inches long and three or four 
inches square at the ends. In the face were two 
peculiar square holes and from the top projected a 
black disc, about the size of a watch, fastened on a 
swinging metal arm. In the face of the disc were 
several perforated holes. 

I picked up the strange looking thing in wonder and 
from that magic oak box actually came a burst of 
laughter. 

'' Come over to the laboratory, right away," pealed 
forth a merry voice. '' I've something to show you.'' 

'' Well," I gasped, " what do you know about that ? " 

Very early that morning Craig had got up, leaving 
me snoring. Cases never wearied him. He thrived 
on excitement. 

He had gone over to the laboratory and set to work 
in a corner over another of those peculiar boxes, ex- 
actly like that which he had already left in our rooms. 

In the face of each of these boxes, as I have said, 
were two square holes. The sides of these holes con- 
verged inward into the box, in the manner of a four 
sided pyramid, ending at the apex in a little circle of 
black, perhaps half an inch across. 

Satisfied at last with his work, Craig had stood back 
from the weird apparatus and shouted my name. He 
liad enjoyed my surprise to the fullest extent, then had 
asked me to join him. 

Half an hour afterward I walked into the laboratory, 
feeling a little sheepish over the practical joke, but 
none the less curious to find out all about it. 

*' What is it ? " I asked indicating the apparatus. 

'' A vocaphone," he replied, still laughing, " the loud 
speaking telephone, the little box that hears and talks. 



THE HIDDEN VOICE 147 

It talks right out in meeting, too — no transmitter to 
hold to the mouth, no receiver to hold to the ear. You 
see, this transmitter is so sensitive that it picks up 
even a whisper, and the receiver is placed back of those 
two megaphone-like pyramids." 

He was standing at a table, carefully packing up one 
of the vocaphones and a lot of wire. 

'^ I believe the Clutching Hand has been shadowing 
the Dodge house," he continued thoughtfully. '' As 
long as we watch the place, too, he will do nothing. 
But if we should seem, ostentatiously, not to be watch- 
ing, perhaps he may try something, and we may be 
able to get a clue to his identity over this vocaphone. 
See?" 

I nodded. '' WeVe got to run him down somehow," 
I agreed. 

'' Yes," he said, taking his coat and hat. '' I am 
going to connect up one of these things in Miss 
Dodge's library and arrange with the telephone com- 
pany for a clear wire so that we can listen in here, 
where that fellow will never suspect." 

At about the same time that Craig and I sallied forth 
on this new mission, Elaine was arranging some flow- 
ers on a stand near the corner of the Dodge library 
where the secret panel was in which her father had 
hidden the papers for the possession of which the 
Clutching Hand had murdered him. They did not dis- 
close his identity, we knew, but they did give directions 
to at least one of his hang-outs and were therefore 
very important. 

She had moved away from the table, but, as she 
did so, her dress caught in something in the woodwork. 



148 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

She tried to loosen it and in so doing touched the little 
metallic spring on which her dress had caught. 

Instantly, to her utter surprise, the panel moved. 
It slid open, disclosing a strong box. 

Elaine took it amazed, looked at it a moment, then 
carried it to a table and started to pry it open. 

It was one of those tin dispatch boxes which, as far 
as I have ever been able to determine, are chiefly 
valuable for allowing one to place a lot of stuff in a 
receptacle which is very convenient for a criminal. 
She had no trouble in opening it. 

Inside were some papers, sealed in an envelope and 
marked '' Limpy Red Correspondence.'' 

" They must be the Clutching Hand papers ! " she 
exclaimed to herself, hesitating a moment in doubt 
what to do. 

The fatal documents seemed almost uncanny. Their 
very presence frightened her. What should she do ? 

She seized the telephone and eagerly called Ken- 
nedy's number. 

*' Hello," answered a voice. 

'^ Is that you, Craig?" she asked excitedly. 

" No, this is Mr. Jameson." 

'' Oh, Mr. Jameson, I've discovered the Clutching 
Hand papers," she began, more and more excited. 

'' Have you read them ? " came back the voice 
quickly. 

^' No — shall I?" 

'' Then don't unseal them," cautioned the voice. 
'' Put them back exactly as you found them and I'll 
tell Mr. Kennedy the moment I can get hold of him." 

"All right," nodded Elaine. "Til do that. And 
please get him — as soon as you possibly can." 



THE HIDDEN VOICE 149 

'' I will." 

*' Fm going out shopping now/' she returned, sud- 
denly. " But, tell him I'll be back — right away." 

" Very well." 

Hanging up the receiver, Elaine dutifully replaced 
the papers in the box and returned the box to its se- 
cret hiding place, pressing the spring and sliding the 
panel shut. 

A few minutes later she left the house in the Dodge 
car. 

Outside our laboratory, leaning up against a rail- 
ing, Dan the Dude, an emissary of the Clutching Hand, 
whose dress now greatly belied his underworld '' mon- 
niker," had been shadowing us, w^atching to see when 
we left. 

The moment we disappeared, he raised his hand 
carefully above his head and made the sign of the 
•Clutching Hand. Far down the street, in a closed car, 
the Clutching Hand himself, his face masked, gave 
an answering sign. 

A moment later he left the car, gazing about stealth- 
ily. Not a soul was in sight and he managed to 
make his way to the door of our laboratory without 
being observed. Then he opened it with a pass key 
which he must have obtained in some way by working 
the janitor or the university officials. 

Probably he thought that the papers might be at 
the laboratory, for he had repeatedly failed to locate 
them at the Dodge house. At any rate he was busily 
engaged in ransacking drawers and cabinets in the 
laboratory, when the telephone suddenly rang. He 



150 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

did not want to answer it, but if it kept on ringing 
someone outside might come in. 

An instant he hesitated. Then, disguising his voice 
as much as he could to imitate mine, he took off the 
receiver. 

" Hello ! " he answered. 

His face was a study in all that was dark as he 
realized that it was Elaine calling. He clenched his 
crooked hand even more viciously. 

'' Have you read them ? '' he asked, curbing his im- 
patience as she unsuspectingly poured forth her story, 
supposedly to me. 

" Then don't unseal them," he hastened to reply. 
" Put them back. Then there can be no question about 
them. You can open them before witnesses." 

For a moment he paused, then added, '' Put them 
back and tell no one of their discovery. I will tell 
Mr. Kennedy the moment I can get him." 

A smile spread over his sinister face as Elaine con- 
fided in him her intention to go shopping. 

'' A rather expensive expedition for you, young 
lady," he muttered to himself as he returned the re- 
ceiver to the hook. 

Clutching Hand lost no further time at the labora- 
tory. He had thus, luckily for him, found out what he 
wanted. The papers were not there after all, but at 
the Dodge house. 

Suppose she should really be gone on only a short 
shopping trip and should return to find that she had 
been fooled over the wire? Quickly, he went to the 
telephone again. 

" Hello, Dan," he called when he got his number. 



THE HIDDEN VOICE 151 

*' Miss Dodge is going shopping. I want you and the 
other Falsers to follow her — delay her all you can. 
Use your own judgment." 

It was what had come to be known in his organiza- 
tion as the '' Brotherhood of Falsers.'' There, in the 
back room of a low dive, were Dan the Dude, the 
emissary who had been loitering about the laboratory, 
a gunman. Dago Alike, a couple of women, slatterns, 
one known as Kitty the Hawk, and a boy of eight or 
ten, whom they called Billy. Before them stood large 
schooners of beer, while the precocious youngster 
grumbled over milk. 

'' All right, Chief,'' shouted back Dan, their leader 
as he hung up the telephone after noting carefully the 
hasty instructions. '' We'll do it — trust us." 

The others, knowing that a job was to lighten the 
monotony of existence, gathered about him. 

They listened intently as he detailed to them the 
orders of the Clutching Hand, hastily planning out the 
campaign like a division commander disposing his 
forces in battle and assigning each his part. 

With alacrity the Brotherhood went their separate 
ways. 

Elaine had not been gone long from the house when 
Craig and I arrived there. She had followed the tele- 
phone instructions of the Clutching Hand and had told 
no one. 

*' Too bad," greeted Jennings, '' but Miss Elaine has 
just gone shopping and I don't know when she'll be 
back." 

Shopping being an uncertain element as far as time 



152 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

was concerned, Kennedy asked if anyone else was at 
home. 

'' Mrs. Dodge is in the Hbrary reading, sir,'' repHed 
Jennings, taking it for granted that we would see her. 

Aunt Josephine greeted us cordially and Craig set 
down the vocaphone package he was carrying. 

She nodded to Jennings to leave us and he withdrew. 

'' Fm not going to let anything happen here to Miss 
Elaine again if I can help it," remarked Craig in a 
low tone, a moment later, gazing about the library. 

"What are you thinking of doing?" asked Aunt 
Josephine keenly. 

'' I'm going to put in a vocaphone," he returned un- 
wrapping it. 

"What's that?" she asked. 

" A loud speaking telephone — connected with my 
laboratory," he explained, repeating what he had al- 
ready told me, while she listened almost awe-struck at 
the latest scientific wonder. 

He was looking about, trying to figure out just where 
it could be placed to best advantage, when he ap- 
proached the suit of armor. 

" I see you have brought it back and had it re- 
paired," he remarked to Aunt Josephine. Suddenly 
his face lighted up. " Ah — an idea ! " he exclaimed. 
" No one will ever think to look inside that." 

It was indeed an inspiration. Kennedy worked 
quickly now, placing the little box inside the breast 
plate of the ancient armourer with the top of the in- 
strument projecting right up into the helmet. It was 
a strange combination — the medieval and the ultra- 
modern. 

" Now, Mrs. Dodge," he said finally, as he had com- 



THE HIDDEN VOICE 153 

pleted installing the thing and hiding the wire under 
carpets and rugs until it ran out to the connection 
which he made with the telephone, '' don't breathe a 
word of it — to anyone. We don't know who to trust 
or suspect." 

'' I shall not/' she answered, by this time thoroughly 
educated in the value of silence. 

Kennedy looked at his watch. 

'' IVe got an engagement with the telephone com- 
pany, now," he said rather briskly, although I knew 
that if Elaine had been there the company and every- 
thing could have gone hang for the present. " Sorry 
not to have seen Miss Elaine," he added as we bowed 
ourselves out, '' but I think we've got her protected 
now." 

" I hope so," sighed her aunt. 

Elaine's car had stopped finally at a shop on Fifth 
Avenue. She stepped out and entered, leaving her 
chauffeur to wait. 

As she did so, Dan and Billy sidled along the 
crowded sidewalk. 

'' There she is, Billy," pointed out Dan as Elaine 
disappeared through the swinging doors of the shop. 
*' Now, you wait right here," he instructed stealthily, 
'' and w^hen she comes out — you know what to do. 
Only, be careful." 

Dan the Dude left Billy, and Billy surreptitiously 
drew from under his coat a dirty half loaf of bread. 
With a glance about, he dropped it into the gutter 
close to the entrance to Elaine's car. Then he with- 
drew a little distance. 

When Elaine came out and approached her car, 



154 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Billy, looking as cold and forlorn as could be, shot 
forward. Pretending to spy the dirty piece of bread 
in the gutter, he made a dive for it, just as Elaine was 
about to step into the car. 

Elaine, surprised, drew back. Billy picked up the 
piece of bread and, with all the actions of having dis- 
covered a treasure, began to gnaw at it voraciously. 

Shocked at the disgusting sight, she tried to take the 
bread away from him. 

'^I know it's dirty, Miss," whimpered Billy, "but 
it's the first food IVe seen for four days." 

Instantly Elaine was full of sympathy. She had 
taken the food away. That would not suffice. 

'' What's your name, little boy ? " she asked. 

" Billy," he replied, blubbering. 

" Where do you live? " 

" With me mother and father — they're sick — ' 
nothing to eat — " 

He was whimpering an address far over on the East 
Side. 

'' Get into the car," Elaine directed. 

" Gee — but this is swell," he cried, with no fake, 
this time. 

On they went, through the tenement canyons, dodg- 
ing children and pushcarts, stopping first at a grocer's, 
then at a butcher's and a delicatessen. Finally the car 
stopped where Billy directed. Billy hobbled out, fol- 
lowed by Elaine and her chauffeur, his arms piled 
high with provisions. She was indeed a lovely Lady 
Bountiful as a crowd of kids quickly surrounded the 
car. 

In the meantime Dago Mike and Kitty the Hawk 
had gone to a wretched flat, before which Billy stopped. 



THE HIDDEN VOICE 155 

Kitty sat on the bed, putting dark circles under her 
eyes with a blackened cork. She was very thin and 
emaciated, but it was dissipation that had done it. 
Dago Mike was correspondingly poorly dressed. 

He had paused beside the window to look out. 
** She's coming," he announced finally. 

Kitty hastily jumped into the rickety bed, while 
Mike took up a crutch that was standing idly in a 
corner. She coughed resignedly and he limped about, 
forlorn. They had assumed their parts which were 
almost to the burlesque of poverty, when the door was 
pushed open and Billy burst in followed by Elaine and 
the chauffeur. 

'' Oh, ma — oh, pa," he cried running forward and 
kissing his pseudo-parents, as Elaine, overcome with 
sympathy, directed the chauffeur to lay the things on 
a shaky table. 

*' God bless you, lady, for a benevolent angel ! " 
muttered the pair, to which Elaine responded by mov- 
ing over to the wretched bed and bending down to 
stroke the forehead of the sick woman. 

Billy and Mike exchanged a sly wink. 

Just then the door opened again. All were genu- 
inely surprised this time, for a prim, spick and span, 
middle-aged woman entered. 

'' I am Miss Statistix, of the organized charities,'' 
she announced, looking around sharply. " I saw your 
car standing outside. Miss, and the children below told 
me you were up here. I came up to see whether you 
were aiding really deserving poor." 

She laid a marked emphasis on the word, pursing 
tip her lips. There was no mistaking the apprehen- 
sion that these fine birds of prey had of her, either. 



156 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Miss Statistix took a step forward, looking in a very 
superior manner from Elaine to the packages of food 
and then at these prize members of the Brotherhood. 
She snorted contemptuously. 

" Why — wh-what's the matter ? " asked Elaine, 
fidgeting uncomfortably, as if she were herself guilty, 
in the icy atmosphere that now seemed to envelope 
all things. 

'' This man is a gunman, that woman is a bad woman, 
the boy is Billy the Bread-Snatcher," she answered 
precisely, drawing out a card on which to record some- 
thing, '* and you. Miss, are a fool ! '' 

" Ya ! " snarled the two precious f alsers, " get out 
o'here!" 

There was no combating Miss Statistix. She over- 
whelmed all arguments by the very exactness of her' 
personality. 

'' You get out ! " she countered. 

Kitty and Mike, accompanied by Billy, sneaked out. 
Elaine, now very much embarrassed, looked about, 
wondering at the rapid-fire change. Miss Statistix 
smiled pityingly. 

" Such innocence ! '' she murmured sadly shaking 
her head as she lead Elaine to the door. '' Don't you 
know better than to try to help anybody without in- 
vestigating? " 

Elaine departed, speechless, properly squelched, fol- 
lowed by her chauffeur. 

3 • • • • • • • 

Meanwhile, a closed car, such as had stood across 
from the laboratory, had drawn up not far from the 
Dodge house. Near it was a man in rather shabby 
clothes and a visored cap on which were the words 



THE HIDDEN VOICE 157 

in dull gold lettering, *'' ^Metropolitan Window Clean- 
ing Co." He carried a bucket and a small extension 
ladder. 

In the darkened recesses of the car was the Clutch- 
ing Hand himself, masked as usual. He had his watch 
in his hand and was giving most minute instructions 
to the window cleaner about something. As the lat- 
ter turned to go, a sharp obsen'er would have noted 
that it was Dan the Dude, still further disguised. 

A few moments later, Dan appeared at the serv- 
ants' entrance of the Dodge house and rang the bell. 
Jennings, who happened to be down there, came to 
the door. 

"' ^lan to clean the windows/' saluted the bogus 
cleaner, touching his hat in a way quietly to call at- 
tention to the words on it and drawing from his pocket 
a faked written order. 

'' All right," nodded Jennings examining the order 
and finding it apparently all right. 

Dan followed him in, taking the ladder and bucket 
upstairs, where Aunt Josephine was still reading. 

" The man to clean the windows, ma'am," apolo- 
gized Jennings. 

'' Oh, ver}^ well," she nodded, taking up her book, 
to go. Then, recalling the frequent injunctions of 
Kennedy, she paused long enough to speak quietly to 
Jennings. 

'' Stay here and watch him," she whispered as she 
went out. 

Jennings nodded, while Dan opened a window and 
set to work. 

Elaine had scarcely started again in her car down 



158 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

the crowded narrow street. From her position she 
could not possibly have seen Johnnie, another of the 
Brotherhood, watching her eagerly up the street. 

But as her car approached, Johnnie, with great de- 
termination, pulled himself together and ran forward 
across the street. She saw that. 

^' Oh ! " she screamed, her heart almost stopping. 

He had fallen directly in front of the wheels of the 
car, apparently, and although the chaufifeur stopped 
with a jolt, it seemed that the boy had been run over. 

They jumped out. There he was, sure enough, 
under the very wheels. People came running now in 
all directions and lifted him up, groaning piteously. 
He seemed literally twisted into a knot which looked 
as if every bone in his body was broken or dislocated. 

Elaine was overcome. For, following their natural 
instincts the crowd began pushing in with cries of 
*' Lynch the driver ! " It would have gone hard with 
him, too, if she had not interfered. 

" Here ! " cried Elaine, stepping in. " It wasn't his 
fault. The boy ran across the street right in front 
of the car. Now — we're just going to rush this boy 
to the hospital — right away ! " 

She lifted Johnnie gently into the car herself and 
they drove off, to a very vigorous blowing of the 
horn. 

A few moments later they pulled up before the am- 
bulance entrance to the hospital. 

'' Quick ! '' beckoned Elaine to the attendants, who 
ran out and carried Johnnie, still a complicated knot 
of broken bones, inside. 

In the reception room were a couple of nurses and 
a young medical student, when Johnnie was carried in 



THE HIDDEN VOICE 159 

and laid on the bed. The student, more interested in 
Elaine than the boy, examined him. His face wore 
a puzzled look and there was every reason to believe 
that Johnnie was seriously injured. 

At that moment the door opened and an elderly, 
gray-bearded house physician entered. The others 
stepped back from the bed respectfully. He advanced 
and examined Johnnie. 

The doctor looked at the boy a moment, then at 
Elaine. 

*' I will now effect a miraculous cure by the laying 
on of hands,'' he announced, adding quickly, '' — and 
of feet ! " 

To the utter surprise of all he seized the boy by the 
coat collar, lifting him up and actually bouncing him 
on the floor. Then he picked him up, shook him and 
ran him out of the room, delivering one last kick as 
he went through the door. By the way Johnnie went, 
it was quite evident that he was no more injured than 
the chauffeur. Elaine did not know whether to be 
angry or to laugh, but finally joined in the general 
laugh. 

" That was Double-Jointed Johnnie,'' puft'ed the 
doctor, as he returned to them, '' one of the greatest 
accident fakers in the city." 

Elaine, having had two unfortunate experiences 
during the day, now decided to go home and the doc- 
tor politely escorted her to her car. 

From his closed car, the Clutching Hand gazed in- 
tently at the Dodge house. He could see Dan on the 
ladder, now washing the library window, his back to- 
ward him. 



i6o THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Dan turned slowly and made the sign of the hand. 
Turning to his chauffeur, the master criminal spoke a 
few words in a low tone and the driver hurried off. 

A few minutes later the driver might have been seen 
entering a near-by drug store and going into the tele- 
phone booth. Without a moment's hesitation he called 
up the Dodge house and Marie, Elaine's maid, an- 
swered. 

" Is Jennings there? " he asked. " Tell him a friend 
wants to speak to him." 

'* Wait a minute," she answered. '' I'll get him." 

Marie went toward the library, leaving the telephone 
off the hook. Dan was washing the windows, half 
inside, half outside the house, while Jennings was try- 
ing to be very busy, although it was apparent that he 
was watching Dan closely. 

'' A friend of yours wants to speak to you over the 
telephone, Jennings," said Marie, as she came into the 
library. 

The butler responded slowly, with a covert glance 
at Dan. 

No sooner had they gone, however, than Dan 
climbed all the way into the room, ran to the door and 
looked after them. Then he ran to the window. 
Across and down the street, the Clutching Hand was 
gazing at the house. He had seen Dan disappear and 
suspected that the time had come. 

Sure enough, there was the sign of the hand. He 
hastily got out of the car and hurried up the street. 
All this time the chauffeur was keeping Jennings busy 
over the telephone with some trumped-up story. 

As the master criminal came in by the ladder through 
the open window, Dan was on guard, listening down 



THE HIDDEN VOICE i6i 

the hallway. A signal from Dan, and Clutching 
Hand slid back of the portieres. Jennings was re- 
turning. 

^' Fve finished these windows/' announced Dan as 
the butler reappeared. " NoWj I'll clean the hall win- 
dows." 

Jennings followed like a shadow, taking the bucket. 

No sooner had they gone than Clutching Hand 
stealthily came from behind the portieres. 

One of the maids was sweeping in the hall as Dan 
went toward the window, about to w^ash it. 

'* I wonder w^hether I locked these windows ? " mut- 
tered Jennings, pausing in the hallway. " I guess I'd 
better make sure." 

He had taken only a step toward the library again, 
when Dan watchfully caught sight of him. It would 
never do to have Jennings snooping around there now. 
Quick action was necessary. Dan knocked over a 
costly Sevres vase. 

*' There — clumsy — see what you've done ! " be- 
rated Jennings, starting to pick up the pieces. 

Dan had acted his part well and promptly. In the 
library, Clutching Hand was busily engaged at that 
moment beside the secret panel searching for the spring 
that released it. He ran his finger along the wood- 
work, pausing here and there without succeeding. 

"Confound it!" he muttered, searching feverishly. 

Kennedy, having made the arrangements with the 
telephone company by which he had a clear wire from 
the Dodge house to his laboratory, had rejoined me 
there and was putting on the finishing touches to his 
installation of the vocaphone. 



i62 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Every now and then he would switch it on, and we 
would listen in as he demonstrated the wonderful lit- 
tle instrument to me. He had heard the window 
cleaner and Jennings, but thought nothing of it at the 
time. 

Once, however, Craig paused and I saw him listen- 
ing more intently than usual. 

" They've gone out," he muttered, '' but surely there 
is someone in the Dodge library." 

I listened, too. The thing was so sensitive that 
even a whisper could be magnified and I certainly did 
hear something. 

Kennedy frowned. What was that scratching noise? 
Could it be Jennings ? Perhaps it was Rusty. 

Just then we could distinguish a sound as though 
someone had moved about. 

" No — that's not Jennings," cried Craig. '' He 
went out." 

He looked at me a moment. The same stealthy 
noise was repeated. 

" It's the Clutching Hand ! " he exclaimed excitedly. 

A moment later, Dan hurried into the Dodge li- 
brary. 

" For heaven's sake, Chief, hurry ! " he whispered 
hoarsely. '' The falsers must have fallen down. The 
girl herself is coming ! " 

Dan himself had no time to waste. He retreated 
into the hallway just as Jennings was opening the door 
for Elaine. 

Marie took her wraps and left her, while Elaine 
handed her numerous packages to Jennings. Dan 
watched every motion. 



THE HIDDEN VOICE 163 

*' Put them away, Jennings/' she said softly. 

Jennings had obeyed and gone upstairs. Elaine 
moved toward the library. Dan took a quiet step or 
two behind her, in the same direction. 

In the library, Clutching Hand was now frantically 
searching for the spring. He heard Elaine coming 
and dodged behind the curtains again just as she en- 
tered. 

With a hasty look about, she saw no one. Then she 
went quickly to the panel, found the spring, and pressed 
it. So many queer things had happened to her since 
she went out that she had begun to worry over the 
safety of the papers. 

The panel opened. They were there, all right. 
She opened the box and took them out, hesitating to 
break the seal before Kennedy arrived. 

Stealthy and tiger-like the Clutching Hand crept up 
behind her. As he did so, Dan gazed in through the 
portieres from the hall. 

With a spring, Clutching Hand leaped at Elaine, 
snatching at the papers. Elaine clung to them tena- 
ciously in spite of the surprise, and they struggled for 
them, Clutching Hand holding one hand over her 
mouth to prevent her screaming. Instantly Dan was 
there, aiding his chief. 

'' Choke her ! Strangle her ! Don't let her 
scream ! " he ground out. 

They fought viciously. Would they succeed? It 
was two desperate, unscrupulous men against one frail 
girl. 

Suddenly, from the man in armor in the corner, as 
if by a miracle came a deep, loud voice. 



i64 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

'' Help ! Help ! Murder ! Police ! They are strangling 
me!'' 

The effect was terrific. 

Clutching Hand and Dan, hardened in crime as they 
were, fell back, dazed, overcome for the moment at 
the startling effect. 

They looked about. Not a soul. 

Then to their utter consternation, from the vizor of 
the helmet again came the deep, vibrating warning. 

" Help ! Murder ! Police ! " 

Kennedy and I had been listening over the voca- 
phone, for the moment non-plussed at the fellow's 
daring. 

Then we heard from the uncanny instrument, '' For 
Heaven's sake, Chief, hurry! The falsers have fal- 
len down. The girl herself is coming ! '' 

What it meant we did not know. But Craig was al- 
most beside himself, as he ordered me to try to get the 
police by telephone, if there was any way to block 
them. Only instant action would count, however. 
What to do ? 

He could hear the master criminal plainly fumbling, 
now. 

'' Yes, that's the Clutching Hand," he repeated. 

" Wait," I cautioned, '' someone else is coming ! " 

By a sort of instinct he seemed to recognize the 
sounds. 

" Elaine ! " he exclaimed, paling. 

Instantly followed, in less time than I can tell it, 
the sounds of a suppressed scuffle. 

''He has seized her — gagged her," I cried in an 
agony of suspense. 



THE HIDDEN VOICE 165 

We could now hear everything that was going on in 
the Hbrary. Craig was wildly excited. As for me, I 
was speechless. Here was the vocaphone we had in- 
stalled. It had warned us. But what could we do? 

I looked blankly at Kennedy. He was equal to the 
emergency. 

He calmly turned a switch. 

Then, at the top of his lungs, he shouted, ''Help! 
Help ! Police ! They are strangling me ! " 

I looked at him in amazement. What did he think 
he could do — blocks away? 

" It works both ways," he muttered. '' Help ! 
Murder ! Police ! " 

We could hear the astounded cursing of the two 
men. Also, down the hall, now, we could hear foot- 
steps approaching in answer to his call for help — 
Aunt Josephine, Jennings, Marie, and others, all 
shouting out that there were cries in the library. 

'' The deuce! What is it? " muttered a gruff voice. 

" The man in armor ! '' hissed Clutching Hand. 

'' Here they come, too. Chief ! " 

There was a parting scuffle. 

^^ There — take that!" 

A loud metallic ringing came from the vocaphone. 

Then, silence! 

What had happened 

In the library, recovered from their first shock of 
surprise, Dan cried out to the Clutching Hand, " The 
deuce. What is it? " 

Then, looking about. Clutching Hand quickly took 
in the situation. 

*' The man in armor ! " he pointed out. 



i66 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Dan was almost dead with fright at the weird thing. 

'' Here they come, too, Chief/' he gasped, as, down 
the hall he could hear the family shouting out that 
someone was in the library. 

With a parting thrust. Clutching Hand sent Elaine 
reeling. 

She held on to only a corner of the papers. He 
had the greater part of them. They were torn and 
destroyed, anyway. 

Finally, with all the venomousness of which he was 
capable. Clutching Hand rushed at the armor suit, 
drew back his gloved fist, and let it shoot out squarely 
in a vicious solar plexus blow. 

"There — take that!'' he roared. 

The suit rattled, furiously. Out of it spilled the 
vocaphone with a bang on the floor. 

An instant later those in the hall rushed in. But 
the Clutching Hand and Dan were gone out of the 
window, the criminal carrying the greater part of 
the precious papers. 

Some ran to Elaine, others to the window. The 
ladder had been kicked away and the criminals were 
gone. Leaping into the waiting car, they had been 
whisked away. 

'' Hello ! Hello ! Hello ! " called a voice, appar- 
ently from nowhere. 

" What is that ? " cried Elaine, still blankly wonder- 
ing. 

She had risen by this time and was gazing about, 
wondering at the strange voice. Suddenly her eye 
fell on the armor scattered all over the floor. She 
spied the little oak box. 

"Elaine!'' 



THE HIDDEN VOICE 167 

Apparently the voice came from that. Besides, it 
had a famiHar ring to her ears. 

'' Yes — Craig ! '' she cried. 

'' This is my vocaphone — the little box that hears 
and talks," came back to her. ''Are you all right?'' 

'' Yes — all right, — thanks to the vocaphone.'' 

She had understood in an instant. She seized the 
helmet and breastplate to which the vocaphone still 
was attached and was holding them close to herself. 

Kennedy had been calling and listening intently over 
the machine, wondering whether it had been put out of 
business in some way. 

'' It works — yet ! " he cried excitedly to me. 
'' Elaine ! " 

" Yes, Craig," came back over the faithful little in- 
strument. 

''Are you all right?" 

"Yes — all right." 

'' Thank heaven ! " breathed Craig, pushing me 
aside. 

Literally he kissed that vocaphone as if it had been 
human ! 



CHAPTER IX 



THE DEATH RAY 



Kennedy was reading a scientific treatise one morn- 
ing, while I was banging on the typewriter, when a 
knock at the laboratory door disturbed us. 



i68 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

By some intuition, Craig seemed to know who it 
was. He sprang to open the door, and there stood 
Elaine Dodge and her lawyer. Perry Bennett. 

Instantly, Craig read from the startled look on 
Elaine's face that something dreadful had happened. 

''Why — what's the matter?" he asked, solici- 
tously. 

''A — another letter — from the Clutching Hand ! " 
she exclaimed breathlessly. " Mr. Bennett was call- 
ing on me, when this note was brought in. We both 
thought we'd better see you at once about it and he 
was kind enough to drive me here right away in his 
car." 

Craig took the letter and we both read, with amaze- 
ment : 

" Are you an enemy of society? If not, order Craig 
Kennedy to leave the country by nine o'clock to-mor- 
row morning. Otherwise, a pedestrian will drop dead 
outside his laboratory every hour until he leaves." 

The note was signed by the now familiar sinister 
hand, and had, added, a postcript, which read : 

*' As a token of his leaving, have him place a vase 
of flowers on his laboratory window to-day." 

'' What shall we do ? " queried Bennett, evidently 
very much alarmed at the threat. 

" Do ? " replied Kennedy, laughing contemptuously 
at the apparently futile threat, '' why, nothing. Just 
wait." 

The day proved uneventful and I paid no further at- 



THE DEATH RAY 169 

tention to the warning letter. It seemed too prepos- 
terous to amount to anything. 

Kennedy, however, with his characteristic foresight, 
as I learned af-terwards, had not been entirely unpre- 
pared, though he had affected to treat the thing with 
contempt. 

His laboratory, I may say, was at the very edge of 
the University buildings, with the campus back of it, 
but opening on the other side on a street that was or- 
dinarily not overcrowded. 

We got up as usual the next day and, quite early, 
went over to the laboratory. Kennedy, as was his 
custom, plunged straightway into his work and ap- 
peared absorbed by it, while I wrote. 

'' There is something queer going on, Walter," he 
remarked. " This thing registers some kind of wire- 
less rays — infra-red, I think, — something like those 
that they say that Italian scientist, Ulivl, claims he has 
discovered and called the ' F-rays.' '' 

'' How do you know? " I asked, looking up from my 
work. ''What's that instrument you are using?'' 

" A bolometer, invented by the late Professor Lang- 
ley," he replied, his attention riveted on it. 

Some time previously, Kennedy had had installed 
on the window ledge one of those mirror-like arrange- 
ments, known as a '' busybody," which show those in 
a room what is going on on the street. 

As I moved over to look at the bolometer, I hap- 
pened to glance into the busybody and saw that a crowd 
was rapidly collecting on the sidewalk. 

"Look, Craig!" I called hastily. 

He hurried over to me and looked. We could both 
see in the busybody mirror a group of excited pass- 



170 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

ersby bending over a man lying prostrate on the side- 
walk. 

He had evidently been standing on the curbstone 
outside the laboratory and had suddenly put his hand 
to his forehead. Then he had literally crumpled up 
into a heap, as he sank to the ground. 

The excited crowd lifted him up and bore him away, 
and I turned in surprise to Craig. He was looking at 
his watch. 

It was now only a few moments past nine o'clock ! 

Not quarter of an hour later, our door was ex- 
citedly flung open and Elaine and Perry Bennett ar- 
rived. 

'' Tve just heard of the accident," she cried, fear- 
fully. '' Isn't it terrible. What had we better do ? " 

For a few moments no one said a word. Then 
Kennedy began carefully examining the bolometer and 
some other recording instruments he had, while the 
rest of us watched, fascinated. 

Somehow that ^' busybody " seemed to attract me. 
I could not resist looking into it from time to time as 
Kennedy worked. 

I was scarcely able to control my excitement when, 
again, I saw the same scene enacted on the sidewalk 
before the laboratory. Hurriedly I looked at my 
watch. It was ten o'clock! 

" Craig ! " I cried. " Another ! " 

Instantly he was at my side, gazing eagerly. There 
was a second innocent pedestrian lying on the side- 
walk while a crowd, almost panic-stricken, gathered 
about him. 

We watched, almost stunned by the suddenness of 



THE DEATH RAY 171 

the thing, until finally, without a word, Kennedy 
turned away, his face set in tense lines. 

'' It's no use,'' he muttered, as we gathered about 
him. " We're beaten. I can't stand this sort of thing. 
I will leave to-morrow for South America." 

I thought Elaine Dodge would faint at the shock of 
his words coming so soon after the terrible occurrence 
outside. She looked at him, speechless. 

It happened that Kennedy had some artificial flowers 
on a stand, which he had been using long before in the 
study of synthetic coloring materials. Before Elaine 
could recover her tongue, he seized them and stuck 
them into a tall beaker, like a vase. Then he deliber- 
ately walked to the window and placed the beaker on 
the ledge in a most prominent position. 

Elaine and Bennett, to say nothing of myself, gazed 
at him, awe-struck. 

'' Is — is there no other way but to surrender ? " 
she asked. 

Kennedy mournfully shook his head. 

*' I'm afraid not," he answered slowly. " There's 
no telling how far a fellow who has this marvellous 
power might go. I think I'd better leave to save you. 
He may not content himself with innocent outsiders 
always." 

Nothing that any of us could say, not even the plead- 
ings of Elaine herself could move him. The thought 
that at eleven o'clock a third innocent passerby might 
lie stricken on the street seemed to move him power- 
fully. 

When, at eleven, nothing happened as it had at the 
other two hours, he was even more confirmed in his 
purpose. Entreaties had no eflfect, and late in the 



172 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

morning, he succeeded in convincing us all that his 
purpose was irrevocable. 

As we stood at the door, mournfully bidding our 
visitors farewell until the morrow, when he had de- 
cided to sail, I could see that he was eager to be alone. 
He had been looking now and then at the peculiar 
instrument which he had been studying earlier in the 
day and I could see on his face a sort of subtle in- 
tentness. 

'' I'm so sorry — Craig," murmured Elaine, choking 
back her emotion, and finding it impossible to go on. 

" So am I, Elaine," he answered, tensely. " But — 
perhaps — when this trouble blows over — " 

He paused, unable to speak, turned, and shook his 
head. Then with a forced gaiety he bade Elaine and 
Perry Bennett adieu, saying that perhaps a trip might 
do him good. 

They had scarcely gone out and Kennedy closed the 
door carefully, when he turned and went directly to 
the instrument which I had seen him observing so in- 
terestedly. 

Plainly, I could see that it was registering some- 
thing. 

"What's the matter?" I asked, non-plussed. 

" Just a moment, Walter," he replied evasively, as if 
not quite sure of himself. 

He walked fairly close to the window this time, 
keeping well out of the direct line of it, however, and 
there stood gazing out into the street. 

A glint, as if of the sun shining on a pair of opera 
glasses could be seen from a window across the way. 

*' We are being watched," he said slowly, turning and 



THE DEATH RAY 173 

looking at me fixedly, '^ but I don't dare investigate 
lest it cost the lives of more unfortunates.'' 

He stood for a moment in deep thought. Then he 
pulled out a suitcase and began silently to pack it. 

Although we had not dared to investigate, we knew 
that from a building, across the street, emissaries of 
the Clutching Hand were watching for our signal of 
surrender. 

The fact was, as we found out later, that in a poorly 
furnished room, much after the fashion of that which, 
with the help of the authorities, we had once raided 
in the suburbs, there were at that moment two crooks. 

One of them was the famous, or rather the infamous, 
Professor LeCroix, with whom in a disguise as a doc- 
tor we had already had some experience when he stole 
from the Hillside Sanitarium the twilight sleep drugs. 
The other was the young secretary of the Clutching 
Hand who had given the warning at the suburban 
headquarters at the time when they were endeavoring 
to tranfuse Elaine Dodge's blood to save the life of 
the crook whom she had shot. 

This was the new headquarters of the master crim- 
inal, very carefully guarded. 

" Look ! " cried LeCroix, very much elated at the 
effect that had been produced by his infra-red rays, 
^' There is the sign — the vase of flowers. We have 
got him this time ! " 

LeCroix gleefully patted a peculiar instrument be- 
side him. Apparently it was a combination of power- 
ful electric arcs, the rays of which were shot through 
a funnel-like arrangement into a converter or, rather, 
a sort of concentration apparatus from which the dread 



174 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

power could be released through a tube-like affair at 
one end. It was his infra-red heat wave, F-ray, en- 
gine. 

'' I told you — it would work ! '' cried LeCroix. 

I did not argue any further with Craig about his 
sudden resolution to go away. But it is a very solemn 
proceeding to pack up and admit defeat after such a 
brilliant succession of cases as had been his until we 
met this master criminal. 

He was unshakeable, however, and the next morning 
we closed the laboratory and loaded our baggage, 
which was considerable, on a taxicab. 

Neither of us said much, but I saw a quick look of 
appreciation on Craig's face as w^e pulled up at the 
wharf and saw that the Dodge car was already there. 
He seemed deeply moved that Elaine should come at 
such an early hour to have a last word. 

Our cab stopped and Kennedy moved over toward 
her car, directing two porters, whom I noticed that he 
chose with care, to wait at one side. One of them 
was an old Irishman with a slight limp; the other a 
wiry Frenchman with a pointed beard. 

In spite of her pleadings, however, Kennedy held 
to his purpose and, as we shook hands for the last 
time, I thought that Elaine would almost break down. 

'' Here, you fellows, now," directed Craig, turning 
brusquely to the porters, " hustle that baggage right 
aboard." 

'' Can't we go on the ship, too ? " asked Elaine, ap- 
pealingly. 

" I'm sorry — I'm afraid there isn't time," apolo- 
gized Craig. 



THE DEATH RAY 175 

We finally tore ourselves away, followed by the 
porters carrying as much as they could. 

'' Bon voyage ! " cried Elaine, bravely keeping back 
a choke in her voice. 

Near the gangplank, in the crowd, I noticed a cou- 
ple of sinister faces watching the ship's officers and 
the passengers going aboard. Kennedy's quick eye 
spotted them, too, but he did not show in any way 
that he noticed anything as, followed by our two 
porters, we quickly climbed the gangplank. 

A moment Craig paused by the rail and waved to 
Elaine and Bennett who returned the salute feelingly. 
I paused at the rail, too, speculating how we were to 
get the rest of our baggage aboard in time, for we 
had taken several minutes saying good-bye. 

" In there," pointed Kennedy quickly to the porters, 
indicating our stateroom which was an outside room. 
" Come, Walter.'' 

I followed him in with a heavy heart. 

Outside could be seen the two sinister faces in the 
crowd watching intently, with eyes fixed on the state- 
room. Finally one of the crooks boarded the ship 
hastily, while the other watched the two porters come 
out of the stateroom and pause at the window, speak- 
ing back into the room as though answering com- 
mands. 

Then the porters quickly ran along the deck and 
down the plank, to get the rest of the luggage. As 
they approached the Dodge car, Elaine, Aunt Joseph- 
ine and Perry Bennett were straining their eyes to 
catch a last glimpse of us. 

The porters took a small but very heavy box and, 



176 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

lugging and tugging, hastened toward the boat with it. 
But they were too late. The gang plank was being 
hauled in. 

They shouted, but the ship's officers waved them 
back. 

'' Too late ! " one of the deckhands shouted, a little 
pleased to see that someone would be inconvenienced 
for tardiness. 

The porters argued. But it was no use. All they 
could do was to carry the box back to the Dodge car. 

Miss Dodge was just getting in as they returned. 

" What shall we do with this and the other stuff ? " 
asked the Irish porter. 

She looked at the rest of the tagged luggage and the 
box which was marked: 

Scientific Instruments 

Valuable 

Handle with care. 

" Here — pile them in here," she said indicating the 
taxicab. '' I'll take charge of them." 

Meanwhile one of our sinister faced friends had 
just had time to regain the shore after following us 
aboard ship and strolling past the window of our state- 
room. He paused long enough to observe one of the 
occupants studying a map, while the other was opening 
a bag. 

'' They're gone ! " he said to the other as he rejoined 
him on the dock, giving a nod of his head and a jerk 
of his thumb at the ship. 

" Yes," added the other crook, '' and lost most of 
their baggage, too." 



THE DEATH RAY 177 

Slowly the Dodge car proceeded through the streets 
up from the river front, followed by the taxicab, until 
at last the Dodge mansion, was reached. 

There Elaine and Aunt Josephine got out and Ben- 
nett stood talking with them a moment. Finally he 
excused himself reluctantly for it was now late, even 
for a lawyer, to get to his office. 

As he hurried over to the subway, Elaine nodded 
to the porters in the taxicab, '' Take that stuff in the 
house. We'll have to send it by the next boat." 

Then she followed Aunt Josephine while the porters 
unloaded the boxes and bags. 

Elaine sighed moodily as she walked slowly in. 

*' Here, ]\Iarie," she cried petulantly to her maid, 
'' take these wraps of mine.'' 

Marie ventured no remark, but, like a good servant, 
took them. 

A moment later Aunt Josephine left her and Elaine 
went into the library and over to a table. She stood 
there an instant, then sank down into a chair, taking 
up Kennedy's picture and gazing at it with eyes filled 
by tears. 

Just then Jennings came into the room, ushering the 
two porters laden with the boxes and bags. 

'' Where shall I have them put these things. Miss 
Elaine ? " he inquired. 

'' Oh — anywhere," she answered hurriedly, replac- 
ing the picture. 

Jennings paused. As he did so, one of the porters 
lim.ped forward. 

" I've a message for you. Miss," he said in a rich 
Irish brogue, wdth a look at Jennings, '' to be delivered 
in private." 



178 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Elaine glanced at him surprised. Then she nodded 
to Jennings who disappeared. As he did so, the Irish- 
man limped to the door and drew together the por- 
tieres. 

Then he came back closer to Elaine. 

A moment she looked at him, not quite knowing 
from his strange actions whether to call for help or 
not. 

At a motion from Kennedy, as he pulled off his wig, 
I pulled off the little false beard. 

Elaine looked at us, transformed, startled. 

''Wh — what— " she stammered. "Oh — I'm — 
so — glad. How — '' 

Kennedy said nothing. He was thoroughly enjoy- 
ing her face. 

'' Don't you understand ? " I explained, laughing 
merrily. '' I admit that I didn't until that last min- 
ute in the stateroom on the boat when we didn't come 
back to wave a last good-bye. But all the care that 
Craig took in selecting the porters was the result of 
work he did yesterday, and the insistence with which 
he chose our travelling clothes had a deep-laid pur- 
pose." 

She said nothing, and I continued. 

" The change was made quickly in the stateroom. 
Kennedy's man threw on the coat and hat he wore, 
while Craig donned the rough clothes of the porter and 
added a limp and a wig. The same sort of exchange 
of clothes was made by me and Craig clapped a Van 
Dyck beard on my thin." 

"I — I'm so glad," she repeated. " I didn't think 
you'd—" 



THE DEATH RAY 179 

She cut the sentence short, remembering her eyes 
and the photograph as we entered, and a deep blush 
crimsoned her face. 

'' Mum's the word," cautioned Kennedy, '' You must 
smuggle us out of the house, some way/' 

Kennedy lost no time in confirming the suspicions 
of his bolometer as to the cause of the death of the 
two innocent victims of the machinations of the 
Clutching Hand. 

Both of them, he had learned, had been removed to 
a nearby undertaking shop, awaiting the verdict of the 
coroner. We sought out the shop and prevailed on 
the undertaker to let us see the bodies. 

As Kennedy pulled down the shroud from the face 
of the first victim, he disclosed on his forehead a 
round dark spot about the size of a small coin. 
Quickly, he moved to the next coffin and, uncovering 
the face, disclosed a similar mark. 

** What is it?'' I asked, awestruck. 

" Why," he said, " IVe heard of a certain Viennese, 
one LeCroix I believe, who has discovered or per- 
fected an infra-red ray instrument which shoots its 
power a great distance with extreme accuracy and 
leaves a mark like these." 

*' Is he in New York ? " I inquired anxiously. 

" Yes, I believe he is." 

Kennedy seemed indisposed to answer more until 
he knew more, and I saw that he would prefer not be- 
ing questioned for the present. 

We thanked the undertaker for his courtesy and 
went out. 



i8o THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Meanwhile Elaine had called up Perry Bennett. 

*' Mr. Bennett," she exclaimed over the wire, " just 
guess who called on me ? " 

" Who ? " he answered, " I give it up." 

" Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Jameson," she called back. 

"Is that so?" he returned. ''Isn't that fine? I 
didn't think he was the kind to run away like that. 
How did it happen ? " 

Elaine quickly told the story as I had told her. 

Had she known it, however, Bennett's valet, Thomas, 
was at that very moment listening at the door, in- 
tensely interested. 

As Bennett hung up the receiver, Thomas entered 
the room. 

*' If anyone calls me," ordered Bennett, " take the 
message, particularly if it is from Miss Dodge. I 
must get downtown — and tell her after I finish my 
court work for the day I shall be right up." 

" Yes sir," nodded the valet with a covert glance at 
his master. 

Then, as Bennett left, he followed him to the door, 
paused, thought a moment, then, as though coming to a 
sudden decision, went out by an opposite door. 

It was not long afterward that a knock sounded at 
the door of the new headquarters of the Clutching 
Hand. LeCroix and the secretary were there, as well 
as a couple of others. 

" The Chief ! " exclaimed one. 

The secretary opened the door, and, sure enough, the 
Clutching Hand entered. 

''Well, how did your infra-red rays work?" he 
asked LeCroix. 

" Fine." 



THE DEATH RAY i8i 

" And they're gone ? " 

" Yes. The flowers were in the window yesterday. 
Two of our men saw them on the boat/' 

There came another knock. This time, as the door 
opened, it was Thomas, Bennett's faithless valet, who 
entered. 

'' Say," blurted out the informer, " do you know 
Kennedy and Jameson are back ? " 

''Back?" cried the crooks. 

'' Yes, — they didn't go. Changed clothes with the 
porters. I just heard Miss Dodge telling Mr. Ben- 
nett." 

Clutching Hand eyed him keenly, then seemed to 
burst into an ungovernable fury. 

Quickly he began volleying orders at the valet and 
the others. Then, with the secretary and two of the 
other crooks he left by another door from that by 
which he had sent the valet forth. 

Leaving the undertaker's, Kennedy and I made our 
way, keeping oflf thoroughfares, to police headquarters, 
where, after making ourselves known, Craig made ar- 
rangements for a raid on the house across the street 
from the laboratory where we had seen the opera glass 
reflection. 

Then, as secretly as we had come, we went out 
again, letting ourselves into the laboratory, stealthily 
looking up and down the street. We entered by a 
basement door, which Kennedy carefully locked again. 

No sooner had we disappeared than one of the 
Clutching Hand's spies who had been watching behind 
a barrel of rubbish gave the signal of the hand down 



i82 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

the street to a confederate and, going to the door, en- 
tered by means of a skeleton key. 

We entered our laboratory which Kennedy had 
closed the day before. With shades drawn, it now 
looked deserted enough. 

I dropped into a chair and lighted a cigarette with a 
sigh of relief, for really I had thought, until the boat 
sailed, that Kennedy actually contemplated going away. 

Kennedy went over to a cabinet and, from it, took 
out a notebook and a small box. Opening the note- 
book on the laboratory table, he rapidly turned the 
pages. 

" Here, Walter," he remarked. " This will answer 
your questions about the mysterious deadly ray.'' 

I moved over to the table, eager to satisfy my curios- 
ity and read the notes which he indicated with his 
finger. 

INFRA-RED RAY NOTES 

The infra-red ray which has been developed by 
LeCroix from the experiments of the Italian scientist 
Ulivi causes, when concentrated by an apparatus per- 
fected by LeCroix, an instantaneous combustion of 
nonreflecting surfaces. It is particularly deadly in its 
effect on the brain centers. 

It can be diverted, it is said however, by a shield 
composed of platinum backed by asbestos. 

Next Kennedy opened the case which he had taken 
out of the cabinet and from it he took out the platinum- 
asbestos mirror, which was something of his own in- 
vention. He held it up and in pantomime showed me 
just how it would cut off the deadly rays. 



THE DEATH RAY 183 

He had not finished even that, when a peculiar noise 
in the laboratory itself disturbed him and he hastily- 
thrust the asbestos platinum shield into his pocket. 

Though we had not realized it, our return had been 
anticipated. 

Suddenly, from a closet projected a magazine gun 
and before we could move, the Clutching Hand himself 
slowly appeared, behind us. 

'' Ah ! '' he exclaimed with mock politeness, " so, you 
thought you'd fool me, did you? Well! " 

Just then, two other crooks, who had let themselves 
in by the skeleton key through the basement jumped 
into the room through that door covering us. 

We started to our feet, but in an instant found our- 
selves both sprawling on the floor. 

In the cabinet, beneath the laboratory table, another 
crook had been hidden and he tackled us with all the 
skill of an old football player against whom we had 
no defence. 

Four of them were upon us instantly. 

At the same time, Thomas, the faithless valet of 
Bennett, had been dispatched by the Clutching Hand 
to commandeer his master's roadster in his absence, 
and, carrying out the instructions, he had driven up 
before Elaine's house at the very moment when she 
w^as going out for a walk. 

Thomas jumped out of the car and touched his hat 
deferentially. 

" A message from ]\Ir. Bennett, ma'am/' he ex- 
plained. '' ]\Ir. Kennedy and Mr. Bennett have sent 
me to ask you to come over to the laborator}^" 



i84 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Unsuspecting, Elaine stepped into the car and drove 
off. 

Instead, however, of turning and pulHng up on the 
laboratory side of the street, Thomas stopped opposite 
it. He got out and Elaine, thinking that perhaps it was 
to save time that he had not turned the car around, 
followed. 

But when the valet, instead of crossing the street, 
went up to a door of a house and rang the bell, she 
began to suspect that all was not as it should be. 

*' What are you going here for, Thomas ? " she asked. 
'* There's the laboratory — over there." 

" But, Miss Dodge," he apologized, " Mr. Kennedy 
and Mr. Bennett are here. They told me they'd be 
here." 

The door was opened quickly by a lookout of the 
Clutching Hand and the valet asked if Craig and 
Elaine's lawyer were in. Of course the lookout re- 
plied that they were and, before Elaine knew it, she 
was jostled into the dark hallway and the door was 
banged shut. 

Resistance was useless now and she was hurried 
along until another door was opened. 

There she saw LeCroix and the other crooks. 

And, as the door slammed, she caught sight of the 
fearsome Clutching Hand himself. 

She drew back, but was too frightened even to 
scream. 

With a harsh, cruel laugh, the super-criminal beck- 
oned to her to follow him and look down through a 
small trap door. 

Unable now to resist, she looked. 

There she saw us. To that extent the valet had told 




I happened to look up and caught a glance of horror on Craig's face 



page 185 



THE DEATH RAY 185 

the truth. Kennedy was standing in deep thought, 
while I sat on an old box, smoking a cigarette — very 
miserable. 

Was this to be the sole outcome of Kennedy's clever 
ruse, I was wondering. Were we only to be ship- 
wrecked in sight of port? 

Watching his chance, w^hen the street was deserted, 
the Clutching Hand and his followers had hustled us 
over to the new hangout across from the laboratory. 
There they had met more crooks and had thrust us into 
this vile hole. 

As the various ineffectual schemes for escape surged 
through my head, I happened to look up and caught 
a glance of horror on Craig's face. I followed his 
eyes. There, above us, was Elaine ! 

I saw her look from us to the Clutching Hand in 
terror. But none of us uttered a word. 

" I will now show you, my dear young lady," al- 
most hissed the Clutching Hand at length, '' as pretty 
a game of hide and seek as you have ever seen.'' 

As he said it, another trap door near the infra-red 
ray machine was opened and a beam of light burst 
through. I knew it was not that which we had to 
fear, but the invisible rays that accompanied it, the rays 
that had affected the bolometer. 

Just then a spot of light showed near my foot, mov- 
ing about the cement floor until it fell on my shoe. In- 
stantly, the leather charred, even before I could move. 

Kennedy and I leaped to our feet and drew back. 
The beam followed us. We retreated further. Still it 
followed, inexorably. 

Clutching Hand w^as now holding Elaine near the 



i86 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

door where she could not help seeing, laughing diaboli- 
cally while he directed LeCroix and the rest to work 
the infra-red ray apparatus through the trap. 

As we dodged from corner to corner, endeavoring to 
keep the red ray from touching us, the crooks seemed 
in no hurry, but rather to enjoy prolonging the torture 
as does a cat with a mouse. 

'' Please — oh, please — stop ! " begged Elaine. 

Clutching Hand only laughed with fiendish delight 
and urged his men on. 

The thing was getting closer and closer. 

Suddenly we heard a strange voice ring out above 
us. 

" Police ! " 

"' Where ? " growled the Clutching Hand in fury. 
' " Outside — a raid ! Run ! He's told them ! '' 

Already we could hear the hammers and axes of the 
police whom Kennedy had called upon before, as they 
battered at the outside door. 

At that door a moment before, the lookout suddenly 
had given a startled stare and a suppressed cry. 
Glancing down the street he had seen a police patrol 
in which were a score or more of the strongarm squad. 
They had jumped out, some carrying sledgehammers, 
others axes. 

Almost before he could cry out and retreat to give 
a warning, they had reached the door and the first re- 
sounding blows had been struck. 

The lookout quickly had fled and drawn the bolts 
of a strong inner door, and the police began battering 
that impediment. 

Instantly, Clutching Hand turned to LeCroix at the 
F-ray machine. 



THE DEATH RAY 187 

" Finish them ! '' he shouted. 

We were now backed up against a small ell in the 
wall of the cellar. It was barely large enough to hold 
us, but by crowding we were able to keep out of the 
reach of the ray. The ray shot past the ell and struck 
a wall a couple of inches from us. 

I looked. The cement began to crumble under the 
intense heat. 

Meanwhile, the police were having great difficulty 
with the steelbolt-studded door into the room. Still, it 
was yielding a bit. 

'' Hurry ! " shouted Clutching Hand to LeCroix. 

Kennedy had voluntarily placed himself in front of 
me in the ell. Carefully, to avoid the ray, he took the 
asbestos-platinum shield from his pocket and slid it 
forward as best he could over the wall to the spot 
where the ray struck. 

It deflected the ray. 

But so powerful was it that even that part of the 
ray which was deflected could be seen to strike the ceil- 
ing in the comer which was of wood. Instantly, be- 
fore Kennedy could even move the shield, the wood 
burst into flames. 

Above us now smoke was pouring into the room 
where the deflected ray struck the floor and flames 
broke out. 

''Confound him!" ground out Clutching Hand, as 
they saw it. 

The other crooks backed away and stood, hesitating, 
not knowing quite what to do. 

The police had by this time finished battering in the 
door and had rushed into the outer passage. 



i88 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

While the flames leaped up, the crooks closed the 
last door into the room. 

'' Run ! " shouted Clutching Hand, as they opened a 
secret gate disclosing a spiral flight of iron steps. 

A moment later all had disappeared except Clutch- 
ing Hand himself. The last door would hold only a 
few seconds, but Clutching Hand was waiting to take 
advantage of even that. With a last frantic effort he 
sought to direct the terrific ray at us. Elaine acted in- 
stantly. With all her strength she rushed forward, 
overturning the machine. 

Clutching Hand uttered a growl and slowly raised 
his gun, taking aim with the butt for a well-directed 
blow at her head. 

Just then the door yielded and a policeman stuck his 
head and shoulders through. His revolver rang out 
and Clutching Hand's automatic flew out of his grasp, 
giving him just enough time to dodge through and 
slam the secret door in the faces of the squad as they 
rushed in. 

Back of the house, Clutching Hand and the other 
crooks were now passing through a bricked passage. 
The fire had got so far beyond control by this time 
that it drove the police back from their efforts to 
open the secret door. Thus the Clutching Hand had 
made good his escape through the passage which led 
out, as we later discovered, to the railroad tracks along 
the river. 

'' Down there — Mr. Kennedy — and Mr. Jameson," 
cried Elaine, pointing at the trap which was hidden in 
the stifle. 

The fire had gained terrific headway, but the police 
seized a ladder and stuck it down into the basement. 



THE DEATH RAY 189 

Choking and sputtering, half suffocated, we stag- 
gered up. 

" Are you hurt ? " asked Elaine anxiously, taking 
Craig's arm. 

" Not a bit — thanks to you ! " he replied, forgetting 
all in meeting the eager questioning of her wonderful 
eyes. 



CHAPTER X 

THE LIFE CURRENT 

Assignments were being given out on the Star 
one afternoon, and I was standing talking with several 
other reporters^ in the busy hum of typewriters and 
clicking telegraphs. 

'* What do you think of that ? " asked one of the 
fellows. " You're something of a scientific detective, 
aren't you ? " 

Without laying claim to such a distinction, I took 
the paper and read : 

THE POISONED KISS AGAIN 



Three More New York Women Report Being Kissed 
by Mysterious Stranger — Later Fell into Deep 
Unconsciousness. What Is It? 

I had scarcely finished, when one of the copy boys, 
dashing past me, called, '' You're wanted on the wire, 
Mr. Jameson." 

I hurried over to the telephone and answered,. 



I90 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

A musical voice responded to my hurried hello, and 
I hastened to adopt my most polite tone. 

" Is this Mr. Jameson ? " asked the voice. 

^* Yes," I replied, not recognizing it. 

^' Well, Mr. Jameson, IVe heard of you on the Star 
and IVe just had a very strange experience. Tve had 
the poisoned kiss.'' 

The woman did not pause to catch my exclamation 
of astonishment, but went on, '* It was like this. A 
man ran up to me on the street and kissed me — and 
— I don't know how it was — but I became uncon- 
scious — and I didn't come to for an hour — in a 
hospital — fortunately. I don't know what would 
have happened if it hadn't been that someone came to 
my assistance and the man fled. I thought the Star 
would be interested." 

" We are," I hastened to reply. " Will you give me 
your name ? " 

'' Why, I am Mrs. Florence Leigh of number 20 
Prospect Avenue," returned the voice. " Really, Mr. 
Jameson, something ought to be done about these 
cases." 

" It surely had," I assented, with much interest, writ- 
ing her name eagerly down on a card. " I'll be out to 
interview you, directly." 

The woman thanked me and I hung up the re- 
ceiver. 

" Say," I exclaimed, hurrying over to the editor's 
desk, '' here's another woman on the wire who says 
she has received the poisoned kiss. 

^' Suppose you take that assignment/' the editor an- 
swered, sensing a possible story. 



THE LIFE CURRENT 191 

I took it with alacrity, figuring out the quickest way 
by elevated and surface car to reach the address. 

The conductor of the trolley indicated Prospect 
Avenue and I hurried up the street until I came to the 
house, a neat, unpretentious place. Looking at the 
address on the card first to make sure, I rang the bell. 

I must say that I could scarcely criticize the poisoned 
kisser's taste, for the woman who had opened the door 
certainly was extraordinarily attractive. 

'' And you really were — put out by a kiss ? '* I 
queried, as she led me into a neat sitting room. 

'' Absolutely — as much as if it had been by one of 
these poisoned needles you read about,*' she replied 
confidently, hastening on to describle the aflfair 
volubly. 

It was beyond me. 

'' May I use your telephone ? " I asked. 

" Surely," she answered. 

I called the laboratory. "Is that you, Craig?" I 
inquired. 

" Yes, Walter," he answered, recognizing my voice. 

" Say, Craig," I asked breathlessly, '' what sort of 
kiss would suffocate a person." 

My only answer was an uproarious laugh from him 
at the idea. 

'' I know," I persisted, '' but IVe got the assignment 
from the Star — and Fm out here interviewing a 
woman about it. It's all right to laugh — but here I 
am. I've found a case — names, dates and places. 
I wish you'd explain the thing, then." 

'' Oh, all right, Walter," he replied indulgently. 
" I'll meet you as soon as I can and help you out." 

I hung up the receiver with an air of satisfaction. 



192 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

At least now I would get an explanation of the woman's 
queer story. 

*' ril clear this thing up," I said confidently. '' My 
friend, Craig Kennedy, the scientific detective is com- 
ing out here." 

*' Good ! That fellow who attacked me ought to be 
shown up. All women may not be as fortunate as I/' 

We waited patiently. Her story certainly was re- 
markable. She remembered every detail up to a cer- 
tain point — and then, as she said, all was blankness. 

The bell rang and the woman hastened to the door 
admitting Kennedy. 

" Hello, Walter," he greeted. 

" This is certainly a most remarkable case, Craig," 
I said, introducing him, and telling briefly what I had 
learned. 

" And you actually mean to say that a kiss had the 
effect—" 

Just then the telephone interrupted. 

" Yes," she reasserted quickly. '' Excuse me a sec- 
ond." 

She answered the call. '' Oh — why — yes, he's 
here. Do you want to speak to him? Mr. Jameson, 
it's the Star." 

'' Confound it ! " I exclaimed, *' isn't that like the 
old man — dragging me off this story before it's half 
finished in order to get another. I'll have to go. I'll 
get this story from you, Craig." 

The day before, in the suburban house, the Clutching 
Hand had been talking to two of his emissaries, an 
attractive young woman and a man. 

They were Flirty Florrie and Dan the Dude. 



THE LIFE CURRENT 193 

*' Now, I want you to get Kennedy," he said. '' The 
way to do it is to separate Kennedy and Elaine — 
see?'' 

'' All right, Chief, we'll do it," they replied. 

" I've rigged it so that you'll reach him through 
Jameson, understand ? " 

They nodded eagerly as he told them the subtle 
plan. 

Clutching Hand had scarcely left when Flirty Florrie 
began by getting published in the papers the story 
which I had seen. 

The next day she called me up from the suburban 
house. Having got me to promise to see her, she had 
scarcely turned from the telephone when Dan the 
Dude w^alked in from the next room. 

'' He's coming," she said. 

Dan was carrying a huge stag head with a beauti- 
fully branched pair of antlers. Under his arm was a 
coil of wire which he had connected to the inside of the 
head. 

'' Fine ! " he exclaimed. Then, pointing to the head, 
he added, '' It's all ready. See how I fixed it ? That 
ought to please the Chief." 

Dan moved quickly to the mantle and mounted a 
stepladder there by which he had taken down the 
head, and started to replace the head above the mantle. 

He hooked the head on a nail. 

" There," he said, unscrewing one of the beautiful 
brown glass eyes of the stag. 

Back of it could be seen a camera shutter. Dan 
worked the shutter several times to see whether it was 
all right. 



194 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

'' One of those new quick shutter cameras," he ex- 
plained. 

Then he ran a couple of wires along the moulding, 
around the room and into a closet, where he made the 
connection with a sort of switchboard on which a but- 
ton was marked, '' shutter '' and the switch, " wind 

FILM." 

'' Now, Flirty," he said, coming out of the closet 
and pulling up the shade which let a flood of sunlight 
into the room, '' you see, I want you to stand here — 
then, do your little trick. Get me ? " 

" I get you Steve," she laughed. 

Just then the bell rang. 

" That must be Jameson," she cried. *' Now — get 
to your corner." 

With a last look Dan went into the closet and shut 
the door. 

Perhaps half an hour later. Clutching Hand himself 
called me up on the telephone. It was he — not the 
Star — as I learned only too late. 

I had scarcely got out of the house, as Craig told 
me afterwards, when Flirty Florrie told all over again 
the embroidered tale that had caught my ear. 

Kennedy said nothing, but listened intently, perhaps 
betraying in his face the scepticism he felt. 

" You see," she said, still voluble and eager to con- 
vince him, '' I was only walking on the street. Here, 
— let me show you. It was just like this." 

She took his arm and before he knew it, led him to 
the spot on the floor near the window which Dan 
had indicated. Meanwhile Dan was listening atten- 
tively in his closet. 



THE LIFE CURRENT 195 

** Now — stand there. You are just as I was — 
only I didn't expect anything/' 

She was pantomiming someone approaching stealth- 
ily while Kennedy watched her with interest, tinged 
with doubt. Behind Craig, in his closet, Dan was 
reaching for the switchboard button. 

'' You see," she said advancing quickly and acting 
her words, *' he placed his hands on my shoulders — 
so — then threw his arms about my neck — so.'' 

She said no more, but imprinted a deep, passionate 
kiss on Kennedy's mouth, clinging closely to him. 
Before Kennedy could draw away, Dan, in the closet, 
had pressed the button and the switch several times in 
rapid succession. 

" Th-that's very realistic," gasped Craig, a good deal 
taken aback by the sudden osculatory assault. 

He frowned. 

''I — I'll look into the case," he said, backing away. 
*^ There may be some scientific explanation — but — 
er— " 

He was plainly embarrassed and hastened to make 
his adieux. 

Kennedy had no more than shut the door before Dan, 
with a gleeful laugh, burst out of the closet and flung 
his own arms about Florrie in an embrace that might 
have been poisoned, it is true, but was none the less 
real for that. 

How little impression the thing made on Kennedy 
can be easily seen from the fact that on the way down- 
town that afternoon he stopped at Martin's, on Fifth 
Avenue, and bought a ring — a very handsome soli^ 
taire, the finest Martin had in the shop. 



196 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

It must have been about the time that he decided 
to stop at Martin's that the Dodge butler, Jennings, 
admitted a young lady who presented a card on which 
was engraved the name 

Miss Florence Leigh 
20 Prospect Avenue. 

As he handed Elaine the card, she looked up from 
the book she was reading and took it. 

*' I don't know her/' she said puckering her pretty 
brow. " Do you ? What does she look like ? " 

" I never saw her before. Miss Elaine," Jennings 
shrugged. " But she is very well dressed." 

" All right, show her in, Jennings. I'll see her." 

Elaine moved into the drawing room, Jennings 
springing forward to part the portieres for her and 
passing through the room quickly where Flirty Florrie 
sat waiting. Flirty Florrie rose and stood gazing at 
Elaine, apparently very much embarrassed, even after 
Jennings had gone. 

There was a short pause. The woman was the first 
to speak. 

'' It is embarrassing," she said finally, '' but. Miss 
Dodge, I have come to you to beg for my love." 

Elaine looked at her non-plussed. 

" Yes," she continued, *' you do not know it, but 
Craig Kennedy is infatuated with you." She paused 
again, then added, " But he is engaged to me." 

Elaine stared at the woman. She was dazed. She 
could not believe it. 

'' There is the ring," Flirty Florrie added indicating 
a very impressive paste diamond. 



THE LIFE CURRENT 197 

Elaine frowned but said nothing. Her head was in 
a whirl. She could not believe. Although Florrie 
was very much embarrassed, she was quite as evidently 
very much wrought up. Quickly she reached into her 
bag and drew out two photographs, without a word, 
handing them to Elaine. Elaine took them reluctantly. 

'' There's the proof," Florrie said simply, choking a 
sob. 

Elaine looked with a start. Sure enough, there was 
the neat living room in the house on Prospect Avenue. 
In one picture Florrie had her arms over Kennedy's 
shoulders. In the other, apparently, they were pas- 
sionately kissing. 

Elaine slowly laid the photographs on the table. 

''Please — please, ]\Iiss Dodge — give me back my 
lost love. You are rich and beautiful — I am poor. 
I have only my good looks. But — I — I love him — 
and he — loves me — and has promised to marry me.'* 

Filled with wonder, and misgivings now, and quite 
as much embarrassed at the woman's pleadings as the 
woman herself had acted a moment before, Elaine 
tried to wave her oif . 

'•' Really — I — I don't know anything about all this. 
It — it doesn't concern me. Please — go." 

Florrie had broken down completely and was weep- 
ing softly into a lace handkerchief. 

She moved toward the door. Elaine followed her. 

'' Jennings — please see the lady to the door." 

Back in the drawing room, Elaine almost seized the 
photographs and hurried into the library where she 
could be alone. There she stood gazing at them — 
doubt, wonder, and fear battling on her plastic fea- 
tures. 



198 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Just then she heard the bell and Jennings in the hall. 

She shoved the photographs away from her on the 
table. 

It was Kennedy himself, close upon the announce- 
ment of the butler. He was in a particularly joyous 
and happy mood, for he had stopped at Martin's. 

"How are you this afternoon?'' he greeted Elaine 
gaily. 

Elaine had been too overcome by what had just hap- 
pened to throw it off so easily, and received him with 
a quickly studied coolness. 

Still, Craig, man-like, did not notice it at once. In 
fact he was too busy gazing about to see that neither 
Jennings, Marie, nor the duenna Aunt Josephine were 
visible. They were not and he quickly took the ring 
from his pocket. Without waiting, he showed it to 
Elaine. In fact, so sure had he been that everything 
was plain sailing, that he seemed to take it almost for 
granted. Under other circumstances, he would have 
been right. But not tonight. 

Elaine very coolly admired the ring, as Craig might 
have eyed a specimen on a microscope slide. Still, he 
did not notice. 

He took the ring, about to put it on her finger. 
Elaine drew away. Concealment was not in her frank 
nature. 

She picked up the two photographs. 

'' What have you to say about those ? " she asked 
cuttingly. 

Kennedy, quite surprised, took them and looked at 
them. Then he let them fall carelessly on the table 
and dropped into a chair, his head back in a burst of 
laughter. 



THE LIFE CURRENT 199 

" Why — that was what they put over on Walter/' 
he said. '' He called me up early this afternoon — 
told me he had discovered one of these poisoned kiss 
cases you have read about in the papers. Think of it 
— all that to pull a concealed camera ! Such an elabor- 
ate business — just to get me where they could fake 
this thing. I suppose they've put some one up to say- 
ing she's engaged ? '' 

Elaine was not so lightly affected. '^ But," she said 
severely, repressing her emotion, '' I don't understand, 
Mr. Kennedy, how scientific inquiry into ' the poisoned 
kiss ' could necessitate this sort of thing." 

She pointed at the photographs accusingly. 

" But," he began, trying to explain. 

" No buts," she interrupted. 

" Then you believe that I — " 

*' How can you, as a scientist, ask me to doubt the 
camera," she insinuated, very coldly turning away. 

Kennedy rapidly began to see that it was far more 
serious than he had at first thought. 

" Very well," he said with a touch of impatience, 
*' if my word is not to be taken — I — I'll — " 

He had seized his hat and stick. 

Elaine did not deign to answer. 

Then, without a word he stalked out of the door. 

As he did so, Elaine hastily turned and took a few 
steps after him, as if to recall her words, then stopped, 
and her pride got the better of her. 

She walked slowly back to the chair by the table — 
the chair he had been sitting in — sank down into it 
and cried. 



200 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Kennedy was moping in the laboratory the next day 
when I came in. 

Just what the trouble was, I did not know, but I 
had decided that it was up to me to try to cheer him 
up. 

"' Say, Craig," I began, tr}'ing to overcome his fit of 
blues. 

Kennedy, filled with his own thoughts, paid no at- 
tention to me. Still, I kept on. 

Finally he got up and, before I knew it, he took me 
by the ear and marched me into the next room. 

I saw that what he needed chiefly w^as to be let 
alone, and he went back to his chair, dropping down 
into it and banging his fists on the table. Under his 
breath he loosed a small volley of bitter expletives. 
Then he jumped up. 

'' By George — I iiill/' he muttered. 

I poked my head out of the door in time to see him 
grab up his hat and coat and dash from the room, put- 
ting his coat on as he went. 

'' He's a nut today," I exclaimed to myself. 

Though I did not know, yet, of the quarrel, Ken- 
nedy had really struggled with himself until he was 
willing to put his pride in his pocket and had made up 
his mind to call on Elaine again. 

As he entered, he saw that it was really of no use, for 
only Aunt Josephine was in the library. 

'' Oh, Mr. Kennedy," she said innocently enough, 
*' I'm so sorry she isn't here. There's been something 
troubling her and she won't tell me what it is. But 
she's gone to call on a young woman, a Florence Leigh, 
I think." 



THE LIFE CURRENT 201 

'' Florence Leigh ! " exclaimed Craig with a start and 
a frown. '' Let me use your telephone/' 

I had turned my attention in the laboratory to a 
story I was writing, when I heard the telephone ring. 
It was Craig. Without a word of apology for his 
rudeness, which I knew had been purely absent-minded, 
I heard him saying, '' Walter — meet me in half an 
hour outside that Florence Leigh's house." 

He was gone in a minute, giving me scarcely time 
to call back that I would. 

Then, with a hasty apology for his abruptness, he 
excused himself, leaving Aunt Josephine wondering at 
his strange actions. 

At about the same time that Craig had left the 
laboratory, at the Dodge house Elaine and Aunt 
Josephine had been in the hall near the library. 
Elaine was in her street dress. 

'' Fm going out. Auntie," she said with an attempted 
gaiety. '' And," she added, '^ if anyone should ask for 
me, ril be there." 

She had showed her a card on which was engraved, 
the name and address of Florence Leigh. 

" All right, dear," answered Aunt Josephine, not 
quite clear in her mind what subtle change there was 
in Elaine. 

Half an hour later I was waiting near the house in 
the suburbs to which I had been directed by the strange 
telephone call the day before. I noticed that it was 
apparently deserted. The blinds were closed and a 
** To Let " sign was on the side of the house. 

" Hello, Walter," cried Craig at last, bustling along. 

He stopped a moment to look at the house. Then, 



202 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

together, we went up the steps and we rang the bell, 
gazing about. 

'' Strange," muttered Craig. " The house looks de- 
serted.'' 

He pointed out the sign and the generally unoc- 
cupied look of the place. Nor was there any answer 
to our ring. Kennedy paused only a second, in 
thought. 

'' Come on, Walter," he said with a sudden decision. 
^^ We've got to get in here somehow." 

He led the way around the side of the house to a 
window, and with a powerful grasp, wrenched open 
the closed shutters. He had just smashed the window 
viciously with his foot when a policeman appeared. 

" Hey, you fellows — what are you doing there ? " 
he shouted. 

Craig paused a second, then pulled his card from his 
pocket. 

" Just the man I want," he parried, much to the 
policeman's surprise, " There's something crooked go- 
ing on here. Follow us in." 

We climbed into the window. There was the same 
living room we had seen the day before. But it was 
now bare and deserted. Everything was gone except 
an old broken chair. Craig and I were frankly amazed 
at the complete and sudden change and I think the 
policeman was a little surprised, for he had thought 
the place occupied. 

*' Come on," cried Kennedy, beckoning us on. 

Quickly he rushed through the house. There was 
not a thing in it to change the deserted appearance of 
the first floor. At last it occurred to Craig to grope 
his way down cellar. There was nothing there, either, 



THE LIFE CURRENT 203 

except a bin, as innocent of coal as Mother Hubbard's 
cupboard was of food. For several minutes we hunted 
about without discovering a thing. 

Kennedy had been carefully going over the place 
and was at the other side of the cellar from ourselves 
when I saw him stop and gaze at the floor. He was 
not looking, apparently, so much as listening. I 
strained my ears, but could make out nothing. Before 
I could 3ay anything, he raised his hand for silence. 
Apparently he had heard something. 

" Hide,'' he whispered suddenly to us. 

Without another word, though for the life of me I 
could make nothing out of it, I pulled the policeman 
into a little angle of the wall nearby, while Craig 
slipped into a similar angle. 

We waited a moment. Nothing happened. Had 
he been seeing things or hearing things, I w^ondered ? 

From our hidden vantage we could now see a square 
piece in the floor, perhaps five feet in diameter, slowly 
open up as though on a pivot. Beneath it we could 
make out a tube-like hole, perhaps three feet across, 
with a covered top. It slowly opened. 

A weird and sinister figure of a man appeared. 
Over his head he w^ore a peculiar helmet with hideous 
glass pieces over the eyes, and tubes that connected 
with a tank which he carried buckled to his back. As 
he slowly dragged himself out, I could wonder only at 
the outlandish headgear. 

Quickly he closed down the cover of the tube, but 
not before a vile effluvium seemed to escape, and pene- 
trate even to us in our hiding places. As he moved 
forward, Kennedy gave a flying leap at him, and we 
followed with a re2:ular football interference. 



204 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

It was the work of only a moment for us to subdue 
and hold him, while Craig ripped off the helmet. 

It was Dan the Dude. 

*' What's that thing?'' I puffed, as I helped Craig 
with the headgear. 

" An oxygen helmet," he replied. *' There must be 
air down the tube that cannot be breathed." 

He went over to the tube. Carefully he opened the 
top and gazed down, starting back a second later, with 
his face puckered up at the noxious odor. 

" Sewer gas," he ejaculated, as he slammed the cover 
down. Then he added to the policeman, " Where do 
you suppose it comes from ? " 

'' Why," replied the officer, *' the St. James Drain 
— an old sewer — is somewhere about these parts." 

Kennedy puckered his face as he gazed at our pris- 
oner. He reached down quickly and lifted something 
off the man's coat. 

'' Golden hair," he muttered. '' Elaine's ! " 

A moment later he seized the man and shook him 
roughly. 

" Where is she — tell me ? " he demanded. 

The man snarled some kind of reply, refusing to say 
a word about her. 

'' Tell me," repeated Kennedy. 

" Humph ! " snorted the prisoner, more close- 
mouthed than ever. 

Kennedy was furious. As he sent the man reeling 
away from him, he seized the oxygen helmet and be- 
gan putting it on. There was only one thing to do — 
to follow the clue of the golden strands of hair. 

Down into the pest hole he went, his head protected 
by the oxygen helmet. As he cautiously took one step 



THE LIFE CURRENT 205 

after another down a series of iron rungs inside the 
hole, he found that the water was up to his chest. 
At the bottom of the perpendicular pit was a narrow 
low passage way, leading off. It was just about big 
enough to get through, but he managed to grope along 
it. He came at last to the main drain, an old stone- 
walled sewer, as murky a place as could well be im- 
agined, filled with the foulest sewer gas. He was 
hardly able to keep his feet in the swirling, bubbling 
water that swept past, almost up to his neck. 

The minutes passed as the policeman and I watched 
our prisoner in the cellar, by the tube. I looked 
anxiously at my watch. 

" Craig ! " I shouted at last, unable to control my 
fears for him. 

No answer. To go down after him seemed out of 
the question. 

By this time, Craig had come to a small open 
chamber into which the sewer widened. On the wall 
he found another series of iron rungs up which he 
climbed. The gas was terrible. 

As he neared the top of the ladder, he came to a 
shelf-like aperture in the sewer chamber, and gazed 
about. It was horribly dark. He reached out and 
felt a piece of cloth. Anxiously he pulled on it. Then 
he reached further into the darkness. 

There was Elaine, unconscious, apparently dead. 

He shook her, endeavoring to wake her up. But it 
was no use. 

In desperation Craig carried her down the ladder. 

With our prisoner, we could only look helplessly 
around. Again and again I looked at my watch as the 
minutes lengthened. Suppose the oxygen gave out ? 



2o6 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" By George, Tm going down after him/' I cried in 
desperation. 

" Don't do it," advised the poHceman. " You'll 
never get out." 

One whiff of the horrible gas told me that he was 
right. I should not have been able to go fifty feet 
in it. I looked at him in despair. It was impossible. 

'' Listen," said the policeman, straining his ears. 

There was indeed a faint noise from the black depths 
below us. A rope alongside the rough ladder began 
to move, as though someone was pulling it taut. We 
gazed down. 

^^ Craig! Craig!" I called. '^ Is that you?" 

No answer. But the rope still moved. Perhaps the 
helmet made it impossible for him to hear. 

He had struggled back in the swirling current al- 
most exhausted by his helpless burden. Holding 
Elaine's head above the surface of the water and pull- 
ing on the rope to attract my attention, for he could 
neither hear nor shout, he had taken a turn of the 
rope about Elaine. I tried pulling on it. There was 
something heavy on the other end and I kept on pull- 
ing. 

At last I could make out Kennedy dimly mounting 
the ladder. The weight was the unconscious body of 
Elaine which he steadied as he mounted. I tugged 
harder and he slowly came up. 

Together, at last, the policeman and I reached down 
and pulled them out. 

We placed Elaine on the cellar floor, as comfortably 
as was possible, and the policeman began his first-aid 
motions for resuscitation. 



THE LIFE CURRENT 207 

" No — no/' cried Kennedy, '' Not here — take her 
up where the air is fresher." 

With his revolver still drawn to overawe the pris- 
oner, the policeman forced him to aid us in carrying 
her up the rickety flight of cellar steps. Kennedy fol- 
lowed quickly, unscrewing the oxygen helmet as he 
went. 

In the deserted living room we deposited our sense- 
less burden, while Kennedy, the helmet off now, bent 
over her. 

" Quick — quick ! '' he cried to the officer, '' An 
ambulance ! '' 

'' But the prisoner," the policeman indicated. 

''Hurry — hurry — I'll take care of him," urged 
Craig, seizing the policeman's pistol and thrusting it 
into his pocket. '' Walter — help me." 

He was trying the ordinary methods of resuscitation. 
Meanwhile the officer had hurried out, seeking the 
nearest telephone, while we worked madly to bring 
Elaine back. 

Again and again Kennedy bent and outstretched her 
arms, trying to induce respiration. So busy was I that 
for the moment I forgot our prisoner. 

But Dan had seen his chance. Noiselessly he picked 
up the old chair in the room and with it raised was 
approaching Kennedy to knock him out. 

Before I knew it myself, Kennedy had heard him. 
With a half instinctive motion, he drew the revolver 
from his pocket and, almost before I could see it, had 
shot the man. Without a word he returned the gun 
to his pocket and again bent over Elaine, without so 
much as a look at the crook who sank to the floor, 
dropping the chair from his nerveless hands. 



2o8 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Already the policeman had got an ambulance which 
was now tearing along to us. 

Frantically Kennedy was working. 

A moment he paused and looked at me — hopeless. 

Just then, outside, we could hear the ambulance, 
and a doctor and two attendants hurried up to the 
door. Without a word the doctor seemed to appre- 
ciate the gravity of the case. 

He finished his examination and shook his head. 

'' There is no hope — no hope,'' he said slowly. 

Kennedy merely stared at Jiim. But the rest of us 
instinctively removed our hats. 

Kennedy gazed at Elaine, overcome. Was this the 
end? 

It was not niany minutes later that Kennedy had 
Elaine in the little sitting room off the laboratory, hav- 
ing taken her there in the ambulance, with the doctor 
and two attendants. 

Elaine's body had been placed on a couch, covered 
by a blanket, and the shades were drawn. The light 
fell on her pale face. 

There was something incongruous about death and 
the vast collection of scientific apparatus, a ghastly 
mocking of humanity. How futile was it all in the 
presence of the great destroyer? 

Aunt Josephine had arrived, stunned, and a mo- 
ment later. Perry Bennett. As I looked at the sorrow- 
ful party. Aunt Josephine rose slowly from her posi- 
tion on her knees where she had been weeping silently 
beside Elaine, and pressed her hands over her eyes, 
with every indication of faintness. 

Before any of us could do anything, she had stag- 



THE LIFE CURRENT 209 

gered into the laboratory itself, Bennett and I follow- 
ing quickly. There I was busy for some time getting 
restoratives. 

Meanwhile Kennedy, beside the couch, with an air 
of desperate determination, turned away and opened a 
cabinet. From it he took a large coil and attached it to 
a storage battery, dragging the peculiar apparatus near 
Elaine's couch. 

To an electric light socket, Craig attached wires. 
The doctor watched him in silent wonder. 

" Doctor," he asked slowly as he worked, '^ do you 
know of Professor Leduc of the Nantes Ecole de 
Medicin ? " 

*' Why — yes," answered the doctor, ^*but what of 
him?" 

*' Then you know of his method of electrical 
resuscitation." 

*' Yes — but — " He paused, looking apprehensively 
at Kennedy. 

Craig paid no attention to his fears, but approaching 
the couch on which Elaine lay, applied the electrodes. 
" You see," he explained, with forced calmness, *' I 
apply the anode here — the cathode there." 

The ambulance surgeon looked on excitedly, as Craig 
turned on the current, applying it to the back of the 
neck and to the spine. 

For some minutes the machine worked. 

Then the young doctor's eyes began to bulge. 

*' My heavens ! " he cried under his breath. 
" Look ! " 

Elaine's chest had slowly risen and fallen. Ken- 
nedy, his attention riveted on his work, applied him- 



210 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

self with redoubled efforts. The young doctor looked 
on with increased wonder. 

" Look ! The color in her face ! See her lips ! '' he 
cried. 

At last her eyes slowly fluttered open — then closed. 

Would the machine succeed? Or was it just the 
galvanic effect of the current? The doctor noticed it 
and quickly placed his ear to her heart. His face was 
a study in astonishment. The minutes sped fast. 

To us outside, who had no idea what was transpir- 
ing in the other room, the minutes were leaden-feeted. 
Aunt Josephine, weak but now herself again, was sit- 
ting nervously. 

Just then the door opened. 

I shall never forget the look on the young ambulance 
surgeon's face, as he murmured under his breath, 
''Come here — the age of miracles is not passed — 
look!" 

Raising his finger to indicate that we were to make 
no noise, he led us into the other room. 

Kennedy was bending over the couch. 

Elaine, her eyes open, now, was gazing up at him, 
and a wan smile flitted over her beautiful face. 

Kennedy had taken her hand, and as he heard us 
enter, turned half way to us, while we stared in blank 
wonder from Elaine to the weird and complicated 
electrical apparatus. 

" It is the life-current," he said simply, patting the 
Leduc apparatus with his other hand. 



THE HOUR OF THREE 211 

CHAPTER XI 

THE HOUR OF THREE 

With the ominous forefinger of his Clutching Hand 
extended, the master criminal emphasized his instruc- 
tions to his minions. 

" Perry Bennett, her lawyer, is in favor again with 
Elaine Dodge,'' he was saying. '' She and Kennedy 
are on the outs even yet. But they may become recon- 
ciled. Then she'll have that fellow on our trail again. 
Before that happens, we must ' get ' her — see? " 

It was in the latest headquarters to which Craig had 
chased the criminal, in one of the toughest parts of the 
old Greenwich village, on the west side of New York, 
not far from the river front. 

They were all seated in a fairly large but dingy old 
room, in which were several chairs, a rickety table and, 
against the wall, a roll-top desk on the top of which 
was a telephone. 

Several crooks of the gang were sitting about, smok- 
ing. 

'' Now," went on Clutching Hand, " I want you. 
Spike, to follow them. See what they do — where 
they go. It's her birthday. Something's bound to 
occur that will give you a lead. All you've got to do is 
to use your head. Get me ? " 

Spike rose, nodded, picked up his hat and coat and 
squirmed out on his mission, like the snake that he 
was. 

It was, as Clutching Hand had said, Elaine's birth- 



212 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

day. She had received many callers and congratula- 
tions, innumerable costly and beautiful tokens of 
remembrance from her countless friends and admirers. 
In the conservatory of the Dodge house Elaine, Aunt 
Josephine, and Susie Martin were sitting discussing 
not only the happy occasion, but, more, the many 
strange events of the past few weeks. 

'' Well," cried a familiar voice behind them. " What 
would a certain blonde young lady accept as a birthday 
present from her family lawyer ? '' 

All three turned in surprise. 

*'Oh, Mr. Bennett," s:ried Elaine. "How you 
startled us ! " 

He laughed and repeated his question, adopting the 
tone that he had once used in the days when he had 
been more in favor with the pretty heiress, before the 
advent of Kennedy. 

Elaine hesitated. She was thinking not so much 
of his words as of Kennedy. To them all, however, it 
seemed that she was unable to make up her mind what, 
in the wealth of her luxury, she would like. 

Susie Martin had been wondering whether, now that 
Bennett was here, she were not de trop, and she looked 
at her wrist watch mechanically. As she did so, an 
idea occurred to her. 

" Why not one of these ? " she cried impulsively, in- 
dicating the watch. " Father has some beauties at the 
shop." 

" Oh, good," exclaimed Elaine, *^ how sweet ! " 

She welcomed the suggestion, for she had been 
thinking that perhaps Bennett might be hinting too 
seriously at a solitaire. 

" So that strikes your fancy ? " he asked. " Then 



THE HOUR OF THREE 213 

let's all go to the shop. Miss Martin will personally 
conduct the tour, and we shall have our pick of the 
finest stock." 

A moment later the three young people went out and 
were quickly whirled off down the Avenue in the 
Dodge town car. 

It was too gay a party to notice a sinister figure fol- 
lowing them in a cab. But as they entered the fash- 
ionable jewelry shop, Spike, who had alighted, walked 
slowly down the street. 

Chatting with animation, the three moved over to 
the watch counter, while the crook, with a determina- 
tion not to risk missing anything, entered the shop 
door, too. 

" Mr. Thomas," asked Susie as her father's clerk 
bowed to them, ''please show Miss Dodge the wrist 
watches father was telling about. 

With another deferential bow, the clerk hastened to 
display a case of watches and they bent over them. 
As each new watch was pointed out, Elaine was de- 
lighted. 

Unobserved, the crook walked over near enough to 
hear what was going on. 

At last, with much banter and yet care, Elaine 
selected one that was indeed a beauty and was about 
to snap it on her dainty wrist, when the clerk inter- 
rupted. 

*' I beg pardon," he suggested, " but Fd advise you 
to leave it to be regulated, if you please." 

" Yes, indeed," chimed in Susie. *' Father always 
advises that." 

Reluctantly, Elaine handed it over to the clerk. 

*' Oh, thank you, ever so much, Mr. Bennett," she 



214 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

said as he unobtrusively paid for the watch and gave 
the address to which it was to be sent when ready. 

A moment later they went out and entered the car 
again. 

As they did so, Spike^ who had been looking various 
things in the next case over as if undecided, came up 
to the watch counter. 

" I'm making a present," he remarked confidentially 
to the clerk. '' How about those bracelet watches ? " 

The clerk pulled out some of the cheaper ones. 

" No," he said thoughtfully, pointing out a tray in 
the show case, " something like those." 

He ended by picking out one identically like that 
which Elaine had selected, and started to pay for it. 

'* Better have it regulated," repeated the clerk. 

'* No," he objected hastily, shaking his head and pay- 
ing the money quickly. '' It's a present — and I want 
it tonight." 

He took the watch and left the store hurriedly. 

In the laboratory, Kennedy was working over an 
oblong oak box, perhaps eighteen inches in length and 
half as high. In the box I could see, besides other 
apparatus, two good sized spools of fine wire. 

'' What's all that ? " I asked inquisitively. 

** Another of the new instruments that scientific de- 
tectives use," he responded, scarcely looking up, '^ a 
little magnetic wizard, the telegraphone." 

" Which is ? " I prompted. 

*^ Something we detectives might use to take down 
and ' can ' telephone and other conversations. When 
it is attached properly to a telephone, it records every- 
thing that is said over the wire." 



THE HOUR OF THREE 215 

*^ How does it work ? " I asked, much mystified, 

" Well, it is based on an entirely new principle, in 
every way different from the phonograph," he ex- 
plained. '' As you can see there are no discs or 
cylinders, but these spools of extremely fine steel wire. 
The record is not made mechanically on a cylinder, but 
electromagnetically on this wire." 

" How ? " I asked, almost incredulously. 

" To put it briefly," he went on, '' small portions of 
magnetism, as it were, are imparted to fractions of the 
steel wire as it passes between two carbon electric mag- 
nets. Each impression represents a sound wave. 
There is no apparent difference in the wire, yet each 
particle of steel undergoes an electromagnetic trans- 
formation by which the sound is indelibly imprinted 
on it." 

" Then you scrape the wire, just as you shave 
records to use it over again ? " I suggested. 

" No," he replied. *' You pass a magnet over it and 
the magnet automatically erases the record. Rust has 
no effect. The record lasts as long as steel lasts." 

Craig continued to tinker tantalizingly with the 
machine which had been invented by a Dane, Valdemar 
Poulsen. 

He had scarcely finished testing out the telegraphone, 
when the laboratory door opened and a clean-cut young 
man entered. 

Kennedy, I knew, had found that the routine worK 
of the Clutching Hand case was beyond his limited 
time and had retained this young man, Raymond 
Chase, to attend to that. 

Chase was a young detective whom Craig had em- 
ployed on shadowing jobs and as a stool pigeon on 



2i6 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

other cases, and we had all the confidence in the 
world in him. 

Just now what worried Craig was the situation with 
Elaine, and I fancied that he had given Chase some 
commission in connection with that. 

'' I've got it, Mr. Kennedy,'' greeted Chase with 
quiet modesty. 

'' Good," responded Craig heartily. ^' I knew you 
would." 

** Got what ? " I asked a moment later. 

Kennedy nodded for Chase to answer. 

'* I've located the new residence of Flirty Florrie," 
he replied. 

I saw what Kennedy was after at once. Flirty 
Florrie and Dan the Dude had caused the quarrel be- 
tween himself and Elaine. Dan the Dude was dead. 
But Flirty Florrie might be forced to explain it. 

"That's fine," he added, exultingly. "Now, I'll 
clear that thing up." 

He took a hasty step to the telephone, put his hand 
on the receiver and was about to take it off the hook. 
Then he paused, and I saw his face working. The 
wound Elaine had given his feelings was deep. It had 
not yet quite healed. 

Finally, his pride, for Kennedy's was a highly sensi- 
tive nature, got the better of him. 

" No," he said, half to himself, " not — yet." 

Elaine had returned home. 

Alone, her thoughts naturally went back to what had 
happened recently to interrupt a friendship which had 
been the sweetest in her life. 

" There must be some mistake," she murmured pen- 



THE HOUR OF THREE 217 

sively to herself, thinking of the photograph Flirty 
had given her. ** Oh, why did I send him away ? 
Why didn't I beHeve him?" 

Then she thought of what had happened, of how she 
had been seized by Dan the Dude in the deserted house, 
of how the noxious gas had overcome her. 

They had told her of how Craig had risked his life 
to save her, how she had been brought home, still only 
half alive, after his almost miraculous work with the 
new electric machine. 

There was his picture. She had not taken that 
away. As she looked at it, a wave of feeling came 
over her. Mechanically, she put out her hand to the 
telephone. 

She was about to take off the receiver, when some- 
thing seemed to stay her hand. She wanted him to 
come to her. 

And, if either of them had called the other just then, 
they would have probably crossed wires. 

Of such stuff are the quarrels of lovers. 

Craig's eye fell on the telegraphone, and an idea 
seemed to occur to him. 

'' Walter, you and Chase bring that thing along," 
he said a moment later. 

He paused long enough to take a badge from the 
drawer of a cabinet, and went out. We followed him, 
lugging the telegraphone. 

At last we came to the apartment house at which 
Chase had located the woman. 

" There it is," he pointed out, as I gave a groan of 
relief, for the telegraphone was getting like lead. 



2i8 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Kennedy nodded and drew from his pocket the 
badge I had seen him take from the cabinet. 

'' Now, Chase," he directed, " you needn't go in 
with us. Walter and I can manage this, now. But 
don't get out of touch with me. I shall need you any 
moment — certainly tomorrow." 

I saw that the badge read, Telephone Inspector. 

" Walter," he smiled, " you're elected my helper." 

We entered the apartment house hall and found a 
Negro boy in charge of the switchboard. It took 
Craig only a moment to convince the boy that he was 
from the company and that complaints had been made 
by some anonymous tenant. 

" You look over that switchboard, Kelly," he winked 
at me, " while I test out the connections back here. 
There must be something wrong with the wires or 
there wouldn't be so many complaints." 

He had gone back of the switchboard and the Negro, 
still unsuspicious, watched without understanding 
what it was all about. 

'' I don't know," Craig muttered finally for the 
benefit of the boy, '' but I think I'll have to leave that 
tester after all. Say, if I put it here, you'll have to be 
careful not to let anyone meddle with it. If you do, 
there'll be the deuce to pay. See?" 

Kennedy had already started to fasten the tele- 
graphone to the wires he had selected from the tangle. 

At last he finished and stood up. 

" Don't disturb it and don't let anyone else touch it," 
he ordered. '' Better not tell anyone — that's the best 
way. I'll be back for it tomorrow probably." 

'' Yas sah," nodded the boy, with a bow, as we went 
out. 



THE HOUR OF THREE 219 

We returned to the laboratory, where there seemed 
to be nothing we could do now except wait for some- 
thing to happen. 

Kennedy, however, employed the time by plunging 
into work, most of the time experimenting with a 
peculiar little coil to which ran the wires of an 
ordinary electric bell. 

Back in the new hang-out, the Clutching Hand was 
laying down the law to his lieutenants and heelers, 
when Spike at last entered. 

'' Huh ! " growled the master criminal, covering the 
fact that he was considerably relieved to see him at 
last, " where have you been ? IVe been off on a little 
job myself and got back." 

Spike apologized profusely. He had succeeded so 
easily that he had thought to take a little time to meet 
up with an old pal whom he ran across, just out of 
prison. 

'' Yes sir," he replied hastily, '' well, I went over to 
the Dodge house, and I saw them finally. Followed 
them into a jewelry shop. That lawyer bought her a 
wrist watch. So I bought one just like it. I thought 
perhaps we pould — " 

*' Give it to me," growled Clutching Hand, seizing 
it the moment Slim displayed it. " And don't butt in 
— see?" 

From the capacious desk, the master criminal pulled 
a set of small drills, vices, and other jeweler's tools 
and placed them on the table. 

'' All right," he relented. '' Now, do you see what 
I have just thought of — no ? This is just the chance. 
Look at me." 



220 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

The heelers gathered around him, peering curiously 
at their master as he worked at the bracelet watch. 

Carefully he plied his hands to the job, regardless of 
time. 

'* There," he exclaimed at last, holding the watch 
up where they could all see it. " See ! " 

He pulled out the stem to set the hands and slowly 
twisted it between his thumb and finger. He turned 
the hands until they were almost at the point of three 
o'clock. 

Then he held the watch out where all could see it. 

They bent closer and strained their eyes at the little 
second hand ticking away merrily. 

As the minute hand touched three, from the back of 
the case, as if from the casing itself, a little needle, per- 
haps a quarter of an inch, jumped out. It seemed to 
come from what looked like merely a small inset in 
the decorations. 

" You see what will happen at the hour of three? " 
he asked. 

No one said a word, as he held up a vial which he 
had drawn from his pocket. On it they could read 
the label, " Ricinus." 

'' One of the most powerful poisons in the world ! " 
he exclaimed. *' Enough here to kill a regiment ! " 

They fairly gasped and looked at it with horror, ex- 
changing glances. Then they looked at him in awe. 
There was no wonder that Clutching Hand kept them 
in line, once he had a crook in his power. 

Opening the vial carefully, he dipped in a thin piece 
of glass and placed a tiny drop in a receptacle back of 
the needle and on the needle itself. 



THE HOUR OF THREE 221 

Altogether it savored of the ancient days of the 
Borgias with their weird poisoned rings. 

Then he dropped the vial back into his pocket, 
pressed a spring, and the needle went back into its un- 
suspected hiding place. 

'' I Ve set my invention to go ofif at three o'clock/' 
he concluded. " Tomorrow forenoon, it will have to 
be delivered early — and I don't believe we shall be 
troubled any longer by Miss Elaine Dodge," he added 
venomously. 

Even the crooks, hardened as they were, could only 
gasp. 

Calmly he wrapped up the apparently innocent en- 
gine of destruction and handed it to Spike. 

" See that she gets it in time," he said merely. 

*' I will, sir," answered Spike, taking it gingerly. 

Flirty Florrie had returned that afternoon, late, 
from some expedition on which she had been sent. 

Rankling in her heart yet was the death of her lover, 
Dan the Dude. For, although in her sphere of crook- 
dom they are neither married nor given in marriage, 
still there is a brand of loyalty that higher circles 
might well copy. Sacred to the memory of the dead, 
however, she had one desire — revenge. 

Thus when she arrived home, she went to the tele- 
phone to report and called a number, 4494 Greenwich. 

''Hello, Chief," she repeated. ''This is Flirty. 
Have you done anything yet in the little matter we 
talked about?" 

" Say — be careful of names — over the wire," 
came a growl. 

" You know — what I mean." 



222 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" Yes. The trick. will be pulled off at three o'clock." 

" Good ! " she exclaimed. ''Good-bye and thank 
you." 

With his well-known caution Clutching Hand did 
not even betray names over the telephone if he could 
help it. 

Flirty hung up the receiver with satisfaction. The 
manes of the departed Dan might soon rest in peace! 

The next day, early in the forenoon, a young man 
with a small package carefully done up came to the 
Dodge house. 

'' From Martin's, the jeweler's, for Miss Dodge," 
he said to Jennings at the door. 

Elaine and Aunt Josephine were sitting in the 
library when Jennings announced him. 

" Oh, it's my watch," cried Elaine. '' Show him in." 

Jennings bowed and did so. Spike entered, and 
handed the package to Elaine, who signed her name 
excitedly and opened it. 

" Just look, Auntie," she exclaimed. '' Isn't it 
stunning? " 

" Very pretty," commented Aunt Josephine. 

Elaine put the watch on her wrist and admired it. 

'' Is it all right? " asked Spike. 

" Yes, yes," answered Elaine. " You may go." 

He went out, while Elaine gazed rapturously at the 
new trinket while it ticked off the minutes — this 
devilish instrument. 

Early the same morning Kennedy went around 
again to the apartment house and, cautious not to be 



THE HOUR OF THREE 223 

seen by Flirty, recovered the telegraphone. To- 
gether we carried it to the laboratory. 

There he set up a little instrument that looked like 
a wedge sitting up on end, in the face of which was a 
dial. Through it he began to run the wire from the 
spools, and, taking an earpiece, put another on my 
head over my ears. 

" You see," he explained, " the principle on which 
this is based is that a mass of tempered steel may be 
impressed with and will retain magnetic fluxes vary- 
ing in density and in sign in adjacent portions of it- 
self — little deposits of magnetic impulse. 

" When the telegraphone is attached to the tele- 
phone wire, the currents that affect the receiver also 
affect the coils of the telegraphone and the disturbance 
set up causes a deposit of magnetic impulse on the 
steel wire. 

" When the wire is again run past these coils with 
a receiver such as I have here in circuit with the coils, 
a light vibration is set up in the receiver diaphragm 
which reproduces the sound of speech.'' He turned 
a switch and we listened eagerly. There was no grat- 
ing and thumping, as he controlled the running off of 
the wire. We were listening to everything that had 
been said over the telephone during the time since we 
left the machine. 

First came several calls from people with bills and 
she put them off most adroitly. 

Then we heard a call that caused Kennedy to look 
at me quickly, stop the machine and start at that point 
over again. 

'' That's what I wanted," he said as we listened in : 



224 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" Give me 4494 Greenwich." 
'' Hello." 

'' Hello, Chief. This is Flirty. Have you done 
anything yet in the little matter we talked about ? 
'' Say — be careful of names — over the wire." 
" You know — what I mean." 
" Yes, the trick will be pulled off at three o'clock. 
" Good ! Good-bye and thank you ! " 
'' Good-bye." 

Kennedy stopped the machine and I looked at him 
blankly. 

'' She called Greenwich 4494 and was told that the 
trick would be pulled off at three o'clock today," he 
ruminated. 

"What trick?" I asked. 

He shook his head. '' I don't know. That is what 
we must find out. I hadn't expected a tip like that. 
What I wanted was to find out how to get at the 
Clutching Hand." 

He paused and considered a minute, then moved to 
the telephone. 

" There's only one thing to do and that's to fol- 
low out my original scheme," he said energetically. 
** Information, please." 

'' Where is Greenwich 4494 ? " he asked a moment 
later. 

The minutes passed. *' Thank you," he cried, writ- 
ing down on a pad an address over on the west side 
near the river front. Then turning to me he ex- 
claimed, " Walter, we've got him at last ! " 

Craig rose and put on his hat and coat, thrusting a 
pair of opera glasses into his pocket, in case we should 



THE HOUR OF THREE 225 

want to observe the place at a distance.. I followed 
him excitedly. The trail was hot. 

Kennedy and I came at last to the place on the West 
Side where the crooked streets curved off. 

Instead of keeping on until he came to the place 
we sought, he turned and quickly slipped behind the 
shelter of a fence. There was a broken board in the 
fence and he bent down, gazing through with the 
opera glasses. 

Across the lot was the new headquarters, a some- 
what dilapidated old-fashioned brick house of several 
generations back. Through the glass we could see an 
evil-countenanced crook slinking along. He mounted 
the steps and rang the bell, turning as he waited. 

From a small aperture in the doorway looked out 
another face, equally evil. Under cover, the crook 
made the sign of the clutching hand twice and was ad- 
mitted. 

" That's the place, all right," whispered Kennedy 
with satisfaction. 

He hurried to a telephone booth where he called 
several numbers. Then we returned to the laborator}% 
while Kennedy quickly figured out a plan of action. I 
knew Chase was expected there soon. 

From the table he picked up the small coil over 
which I had seen him working, and attached it to the 
bell and some batteries. He replaced it on the table, 
while I watched curiously. 

'' A selenium cell,'' he explained. '' Only when 
light falls on it does it become a good conductor of 
electricity. Then the bell will ring.'' 

Just before making the connection he placed his hat 



226 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

over the cell. Then he lifted the hat. The light fell 
on it and the bell rang. He replaced the hat and the 
bell stopped. It was evidently a very peculiar prop- 
erty of the substance, selenium. 

Just then there came a knock at the door. I opened 
it. 

'^ Hello, Chase," greeted Kennedy. "Well, Fve 
found the new headquarters all right, — over on the 
west side." 

Kennedy picked up the selenium cell and a long 
coil of fine wire which he placed in a bag. Then he 
took another bag already packed and, shifting them 
between us, we hurried down town. 

Near the vacant lot, back of the new headquarters, 
was an old broken down house. Through the rear of 
it we entered. 

I started back in astonishment as we found eight or 
ten policemen already there. Kennedy had ordered 
them to be ready for a raid and they had dropped in 
one at a time without attracting attention. 

'' Well, men," he greeted them, '' I see you found 
the place all right. Now, in a little while Jameson 
will return with two wires. Attach them to the bell 
which I will leave here. When it rings, raid the 
house. Jameson will lead you to it. Come, Walter," 
he added, picking up the bags. 

Ten minutes later, outside the new headquarters, a 
crouched up figure, carrying a small package, his face 
hidden under his soft hat and up-turned collar, could 
have been seen slinking along until he came to the 
steps. 

He went up and peered through the aperture of the 



THE HOUR OF THREE 227 

doorway. Then he rang the bell. Twice he raised 
his hand and clenched it in the now familiar clutch. 

A crook inside saw it through the aperture and 
opened the door. The figure entered and almost be- 
fore the door was shut tied the masking handker- 
chief over his face, which hid his identity from even 
the most trusted lieutenants. The crook bowed to 
the chief, who, with a growl as though of recognition, 
moved down the hall. 

As he came to the room from which Spike had 
been sent on his misison, the same group was seated 
in the thick tobacco smoke. 

'' You fellows clear out," he growled. '' I want to 
be alone.'' 

" The old man is peeved," muttered one, outside, as 
they left. 

The weird figure gazed about the room to be sure 
that he was alone. 

When Craig and I left the police he had given me 
most minute instructions which I was now following 
out to the letter. 

** I want you to hide there," he said, indicating a 
barrel back of the house next to the hang-out. 
'' When you see a wire come down from the head- 
quarters, take it and carry it across the lot to the old 
house. Attach it to the bell; then wait. When it 
rings, raid the Clutching Hand joint." 

I waited what seemed to be an interminable time 
back of the barrel and it is no joke hiding back of a 
barrel. 

Finally, however, I saw a coil of fine wire drop 
rapidly to the ground from a window somewhere 



228 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

above. I made a dash for it, as though I were trying 
to rush the trenches, seized my prize and without 
looking back to see where it came from, beat a hasty 
retreat 

Around the lot I skirted, until at last I reached the 
place where the police were waiting. Quickly we 
fastened the wire to the bell. 

We waited. 

Not a sound from the bell. 

Up in the room in the joint, the hunched up figure 
stood by the table. He had taken his hat off aiid 
placed it carefully on the table, and was now waiting. 

Suddenly a noise at the door startled him. He lis- 
tened. Then he backed away from the door and drew 
a revolver. 

As the door slowly opened there entered another fig- 
ure, hat over his eyes, collar up, a handkerchief over 
his face, the exact counterpart of the first! 

For a moment each glared at the other. 

" Hands up ! " shouted the first figure, hoarsely, 
moving the gun and closing the door, with his foot. 

The newcomer slowly raised his crooked hand over 
his head, as the blue steel revolver gaped menacingly. 

With a quick movement of the other hand, the first 
sinister figure removed the handkerchief from his face 
and straightened up. 

It was Kennedy! 

'' Come over to the center of the room,'' ordered 
Kennedy. 

Clutching Hand obeyed, eyeing his captor closely. 

" Now lay your weapons on the table.'' 

He tossed down a revolver. 




o 



.a 



S 



THE HOUR OF THREE 229 

The two still faced each other. 

''Take off that handkerchief!'' 

It was a tense moment. Slowly Clutching Hand 
started to obey. Then he stopped. Kennedy was just 
about to thunder, '' Go on," when the criminal calmly 
remarked, '' YouVe got me all right, Kennedy, but in 
twenty minutes Elaine Dodge will be dead ! " 

He said it with a nonchalance that might have de- 
ceived anyone less astute than Kennedy. Suddenly 
there flashed over Craig the words : '' The trick 

WILL BE PULLED OFF AT THREE o'CLOCK ! " 

There was no fake about that. Kennedy frowned. 
If he killed Clutching Hand, Elaine would die. If he 
fought, he must either kill or be killed. If he handed 
Clutching Hand over, all he had to do was to keep 
quiet. He looked at his watch. It was twenty-five 
minutes of three. 

What a situation ! 

He had caught a prisoner he dared not molest — 

yet. 

"What do you mean — tell me?'' demanded Ken- 
nedy with forced calm. 

'' Yesterday Mr. Bennett bought a wrist watch for 
Elaine," the Clutching Hand said quietly. '' They left 
it to be regulated. One of my men bought one just 
like it. Mine was delivered to her today." 

'' A likely story ! " doubted Kennedy. 

For answer, the Clutching Hand pointed to the tele- 
phone. 

Kennedy reached for it. 

'* One thing," interrupted the Clutching Hand. 
" You are a man of honor." 

'' Yes — yes. Go on." 



230 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

^' If I tell you what to do, you must promise to 
give me a fighting chance/' 

" Yes, yes." 

" Call up Aunt Josephine, then. Do just as I say." 

Covering Clutching Hand, Kennedy called a num- 
ber. '' This is Mr. Kennedy, Mrs. Dodge. Did 
Elaine receive a presen of a wrist watch from Mr. 
Bennett ? " 

'' Yes," she replied, '' for her birthday. It came 
this forenoon." 

Kennedy hung up the receiver and faced Clutching 
Hand puzzled as the latter said, '' Call up Martin, the 
jeweler." 

Again Kennedy obeyed. 

*' Has the watch purchased for Miss Elaine Dodge 
been delivered ? " he asked the clerk. 

" No," came back the reply, " the watch Mr. Bennett 
bought is still here being regulated." 

Kennedy hung up the receiver. He was stunned. 

*' The watch will cause her death at three o'clock," 
said the Clutching Hand. " Swear to leave here with- 
out discovering my identity and I will tell you how. 
You can save her ! " 

A moment Kennedy thought. Here was a quan- 
dary. 

'' No," he shouted, seizing the telephone. 

Before Kennedy could move, Clutching Hand had 
pulled the telephone wires with almost superhuman 
strength from the junction box. 

'' In that watch," he hissed, '' I have set a poisoned 
needle in a spring that will be released and will plunge 
it into her arm at exactly three o'clock. On the needle 
is ricinus ! " 



THE HOUR OF THREE 231 

Craig advanced, furious. As he did so, Clutching 
Hand pointed calmly to the clock. It was twenty min- 
utes of three ! '' 

With a mental struggle, Kennedy controlled his 
loathing of the creature before him. 

'' All right — but you'll hear from me — sooner than 
you suspect,'' he shouted, starting for the door. 

Then he came back and lifted his hat, hiding as 
much as possible the selenium cell, letting the light 
fall on it. 

" Only Elaine's life has saved you." 

With a last threat he dashed out. He hailed a cab, 
returning from some steamship wharves not far away. 

'' Quick ! " he ordered, giving the Dodge address on 
Fifth Avenue. 

Minute after minute the police and I waited. Was 
anything wrong? Where was Craig? 

Just then a tremor grew into a tinkle, then came the 
strong burr of the bell. Kennedy needed us. 

With a shout of encouragement to the men I dashed 
out and over to the old house. 

Meanwhile Clutching Hand himself had approached 
the table to recover his weapon and had noticed the 
queer little selenium cell. He picked it up and for the 
first time saw the wire leading out. 

'' The deuce! " he cried. '' He's planned to get me 
anyhow^ ! '' 

Clutching Hand rushed to the door — then stopped 
short. Outside he could hear the police and myself. 
We had shot the lock on the outside and w^ere already 
inside. 

Clutching Hand slammed shut his door and pulled 



232 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

down over it a heavy wooden bar. A few steps took 
him to the window. There were police in the back 
yard, too. He was surrounded. 

But he did not hurry. He knew what to do with 
every second. 

At the desk he paused and took out a piece of card- 
board. Then with a heavy black marking pencil, he 
calmly printed on it, while we battered at the bar- 
ricaded door, a few short feet away. 

He laid the sign on the desk, then on another piece 
of cardboard, drew crudely a hand with the index fin- 
ger, pointing. This he placed on a chair, indicating 
the desk. 

Just as the swaying and bulging door gave way, 
Clutching Hand gave the desk a pull. It opened up 
— his getaway. 

He closed it with a sardonic smile in our direction, 
just before the door crashed in. 

We looked about. There was not a soul in the 
room, nothing but the selenium cell, the chairs, the 
desk. 

'' Look! " I cried catching sight of the index finger, 
and going over to the desk. 

We rolled back the top. There on the flat top was 
a sign: 

Dear Blockheads: 

Kennedy and I couldn't wait. 

Yours as ever, 

Then came that mysterious sign of the Clutching 
Hand. 

We hunted over the rooms, but could find nothing 



THE HOUR OF THREE 233 

that showed a clue. Where was Clutching Hand? 
Where was Kennedy? 

In the next house Clutching Hand had literally come 
out of an upright piano into the room corresponding 
to that he had left. Hastily he threw off his hand- 
kerchief, slouch hat, old coat and trousers. A neat 
striped pair of trousers replaced the old, frayed and 
baggy pair. A new shirt, then a sporty vest and a 
frock coat followed. As he put the finishing touches 
on, he looked for all the world like a bewhiskered 
foreigner. 

With a silk hat and stick, he surveyed himself, 
straightening his tie. At the door of the new head- 
quarters, a few seconds later, I stood with the police. 

** Not a sign of him anywhere," growled one of the 
officers. 

Nor was there. Down the street we could see only 
a straight well-dressed, distinguished looking man who 
had evidently walked down to the docks to see a 
friend off, perhaps. 

Elaine was sitting in the library reading when Aunt 
Josephine turned to her. 

" What time is it, dear ? " she asked. 

Elaine glanced at her pretty new trinket. 

" Nearly three. Auntie — a couple of minutes," she 
said. 

Just then there came- the sound of feet running 
madly down the hall way. They jumped up, startled. 

Kennedy, his coat flying, and hat jammed over his 
eyes, had almost bowled over poor Jennings in his mad 
race down the hall. 

"Well," demanded Elaine haughtily, "what's—" 



234 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Before she knew what was going on, Craig hurried 
up to her and Hterally ripped the watch off her wrist, 
breaking the beautiful bracelet. 

He held it up, gingerly. Elaine was speechless. 
Was this Kennedy ? Was he possessed by such an in- 
ordinate jealousy of Bennett? 

As he held the watch up, the second hand ticked 
around and the minute hand passed the meridian of the 
hour. 

A viciously sharp little needle gleamed out — then 
sprang back into the filigree work again. 

** Well," she gasped again, " what's the occasion of 

Craig gazed at Elaine in silence. 

Should he defend his rudeness, if she did not under- 
stand? She stamped her foot, and repeated the ques- 
tion a third time. 

'' What do you mean, sir, by such conduct? " 

Slowly he bowed. 

" I just don't like the kind of birthday presents you 
receive," he said, turning on his heel. " Good after- 
noon." 



CHAPTER XII 

THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 

*' On your right is the residence of Miss Elaine 
Dodge, the heiress, who is pursuing the famous master 
criminal known as the Clutching Hand." 

The barker had been grandiloquently pointing out 
the residences of noted New Yorkers as the big sight- 




^ 

^ 



^3 

a 



o 



J3 



THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 235 

seeing car lumbered along through the streets. The 
car was filled with people and he plied his megaphone 
as though he were on intimate terms with all the city's 
notables. 

No one paid any attention to the unobtrusive China- 
man who sat inconspicuously in the middle of the car. 
He was Mr. Long Sin, but no one saw anything par- 
ticularly mysterious about an oriental visitor more or 
less viewing New York City. 

Long was of the mandarin type, with drooping mus- 
tache, well dressed in American clothes, and conform- 
ing to the new customs of an occidentalized China. 

Anyone, however, who had been watching Long 
Sin would have seen that he showed much interest 
whenever any of the wealthy residents of the city were 
mentioned. The name of Elaine Dodge seemed par- 
ticularly to strike him. He listened with subtle in- 
terest to what the barker said and looked keenly at 
the Dodge house. 

The sight-seeing car had passed the house, when 
he rose slowly and motioned that he wanted to be 
let off. The car stopped, he alighted and slowly ram- 
bled away, evidently marvelling greatly at the strange 
customs of these uncouth westerners. 

Elaine was going out, when she met Perry Bennett 
almost on the steps of the house. 

'* I've brought you the watch,'' remarked Bennett; 
'' thought I'd like to give it to you myself." 

He displayed the watch which he himself had bought 
a couple of days before for her birthday. He had 
called for it himself at the jeweller's where it had now 
been regulated. 



236 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

'' Oh, thank you/' exclaimed Elaine. '' Won't you 
come in ? " 

They had scarcely greeted each other, when Long 
Sin strolled along. Neither of them, however, had 
time to notice the quiet Chinaman who passed the 
house, looking at Elaine sharply out of the corner of 
his eye. They entered and Long disappeared down the 
street. 

" Isn't it a beauty ? " cried Elaine, holding it out 
from her, as they entered the library and examining it 
with great appreciation. '' And, oh, do you know, the 
strangest thing happened yesterday? Sometimes Mr. 
Kennedy acts too queerly for anything." 

She related how Craig had burst in on her and 
Aunt Josephine and had almost torn the other watch 
off her wrist. 

" Another watch ? " repeated Bennett, amazed. ^' It 
must have been a mistake. Kennedy is crazy." 

" I don't understand it, myself," murmured Elaine. 

Long Sin had continued his placid way, revolving 
some dark and devious plan beneath his impassive 
Oriental countenance. He was no ordinary person- 
age. In fact he was astute enough to have no record. 
He left that to his tools. 

This remarkable criminal had established himself in 
a hired apartment downtown. It was furnished in 
rather elegant American style, but he had added to it 
some most valuable Oriental curios which gave it a 
fascinating appearance. 

Long Sin, now in rich Oriental costume, was re- 
clining on a divan smoking a strange looking pipe 
and playing with two pet white rats. Each white rat 



THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 2^ 

had a gold band around his leg, to which was con- 
nected a gold chain about a foot in length, and the 
chains ended in rings which were slipped over Long's 
little fingers. Ordinarily, he carried the pets up the 
capacious sleeve of each arm. 

A servant, also in native costume, entered and bowed 
deferentially. 

*' A Miss Mary Carson," she lisped in soft English. 

*' Let the lady enter," waved Long Sin, with a smile 
of subtle satisfaction. 

The girl bowed again and silently left the room, 
returning with a handsome, very well dressed white 
woman. 

It would be difficult to analyze just what the fas- 
cination was that Long Sin exercised over Mary Car- 
son. But as the servant left the room, Mary bowed 
almost as deferentially as the little Chinese girl. Long 
merely nodded in reply. 

After a moment, he slowly rose and took from a 
drawer a newspaper clipping. Without a word, he 
handed it to Mary. She looked at it with interest, as 
one woman always does at the picture of another 
pretty woman. It was a newspaper cut of Elaine, 
under which was : 

ELAINE DODGE, THE HEIRESS^ WHOSE BATTLE WITH 
THE CLUTCHING HAND IS CREATING WORLD WIDE 

INTEREST. 

** Now," he began, at last, breaking the silence, 
" ril show you just what I want you to do." 

He went over to the wall and took down a curious 
long Chinese knife from a scabbard which hung there 
conspicuously. 



238 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" See that ? " he added, holding it up. 

Before she could say a word, he had plunged the 
knife, apparently, into his own breast. 

"Oh!" cried Mary, startled. 

She expected to see him fall. But nothing hap- 
pened. Long Sin laughed. It was an Oriental trick 
knife in which the blade telescoped into the handle. 

" Look at it," he added, handing it to her. 

Long Sin took a bladder of water from a table 
nearby and concealed it under his coat. " Now, you 
stab me," he directed. 

Mary hesitated. But he repeated the command 
and she plunged the knife gingerly at him. It tele- 
scoped. He made her try it over and she stabbed more 
resolutely. The water from the bladder poured out. 

" Good ! " cried Long Sin, much pleased. " Now," 
he added, seating himself beside her, " I want you to 
lure Elaine here." 

Mary looked at him inquiringly as he returned the 
knife to its scabbard on the wall. '' Remember where 
it is," he continued. '' Now, if you will come into the 
other room I will show you how to get her." 



I had been amusing myself by rigging up a contriv- 
ance by which I could make it possible to see through 
or rather over, a door. The idea had been suggested 
to me by the cystoscope which physicians use in order 
to look down one's throat, and I had calculated that 
by using three mirrors placed at proper angles, I could 
easily reflect rays down to the level of my eye. 

Kennedy, who had been busy in the other end of the 



THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 239 

laboratory, happened to look over in my direction. 
*' What's the big idea, Walter? " he asked. 

It was, I admit, a rather cumbersome and clumsy 
aflfair. 

*' Well, you see, Craig, '' I explained, '' you put the 
top mirror through the transom of a door and — " 

Kennedy interrupted with a hearty burst of laughter. 
"But suppose the door has no transom?" he asked, 
pointing to our own door. 

I scratched my head, thoughtfully. I had assumed 
that the door would have a transom. A moment later, 
Craig went to the cabinet and drew out a tube about 
as big around as a putty blower and as long. 

" Now, here's what I call my detectascope," he re- 
marked. *' None of your mirrors for me.'' 

'' I know," I said somewhat nettled, '' but what can 
you see through that putty blower? A key hole is 
just as good." 

'' Do you realize how little you can really see through 
a key hole?" he replied confidently. ''Try it over 
there." 

I did and to tell the truth I could see merely a lit- 
tle part of the hall. Then Kennedy inserted the de- 
tectascope. 

'' Look through that," he directed. 

I put my eye to the eye-piece and gazed through the 
bulging lens of the other end. I could see almost the 
whole hall. 

'' That," he explained, '' is what is known as a fish- 
eye lens — a lens that looks through an angle of some 
180 degrees, almost twice that of the widest angle 
lens I know of." 



240 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

I said nothing, but tossed my own crude invention 
into the corner, while Craig went back to work. 

Elaine was playing with " Rusty " when Jennings 
brought in a card on which was engraved the name, 
'^ Miss Mary Carson," and underneath, in pencil, was 
written ** Belgian Relief Committee." 

*' How interesting," commented Elaine, rising and 
accompanying Jennings back into the drawing room. 
" I wonder what she wants. Very pleased to meet 
you, Miss Carson," she greeted her visitor. 

" You see. Miss Dodge," began Mary, " we're get- 
ting up this movement to help the Belgians and we 
have splendid backing. Just let me show you some of 
the names on our committee." 

She handed Elaine a list which read: 

BELGIAN RELIEF COMMITTEE 

Mrs. Warburton Fish 
Mrs. Hamilton Beekman 
Mrs. C. August Iselin 
Mrs. Belmont Rivington 
Mrs. Rupert Solvay. 

'' I've just been sent to see if I cannot persuade you 
to join the committee and attend a meeting at Mrs. 
Rivington's," she went on. 

''Why, er," considered Elaine thoughtfully, " er — 
yes. It must be all right w4th such people in it." 

'' Can you go with me now ? " 

" Just as well as later," agreed Elaine. 

They went out together, and, as they were leaving 



THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 241 

the house a man who had been loitering outside looked 
at Elaine, then fixedly at her companion. 

No sooner had they gone than he sped off to a car 
waiting around the comer. In the dark depths was 
a sinister figure, the master criminal himself. The 
watcher had been an emissary of the Clutching Hand. 

'^ Chief,'' he whispered eagerly, '* You know Ad- 
venturess Mary? Well, she's got Elaine Dodge in 
tow ! " 

** The deuce ! " cried Clutching Hand. *^ Then we 
must teach Mary Carson, or whoever she is working 
for, a lesson. No one shall interfere with our af- 
fairs. Follow them ! " 

Elaine and Mary had gone downtown, talking ani- 
matedly, and walked down the avenue toward Mrs. 
Rivington's apartment. 

Meanwhile, Long Sin, still in his Chinese costume, 
was explaining to the servant just what he wished 
done, pointing out the dagger on the wall and re- 
placing the bladder under his jacket. A box of opium 
was on the table, and he was giving most explicit di- 
rections. It was into such a web that Elaine was be- 
ing unwittingly led by Mary. 

Entering the hallway of the apartment, Mary rang 
the bell. 

Long heard it. " Answer it," he directed the serv- 
ant who hastened to do so, while Long glided like a 
serpent into a back room. 

The servant opened the door and Elaine and Mary 
entered. He closed the door and almost before they 
knew locked it and was gone into the back room. 

Elaine gazed about in trepidation. But before she 



242 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

could say anything, Mary, with a great show of sur- 
prise, exclaimed, " Why, I must have made a mistake. 
This isn't Mrs. Rivington's apartment. How stupid 
of me.'' 

They looked at each other a moment. Then each 
laughed nervously, as together they started to go out 
of the door. It was locked ! 

Quickly they ran to another door. It was locked, 
also. 

Then they went to the windows. Behind the cur- 
tains they were barred and looked out on a blank 
brick wall in a little court. 

" Oh," cried Mary wringing her hands, stricken in 
mock panic, '* oh, I'm so frightened. This may be 
the den of Chinese white slavers ! " 

She had picked up some Chinese articles on a table, 
including the box that Long had left there. It had a 
peculiar odor. 

'' Opium ! " she whispered, showing it to Elaine. 

The two looked at each other, Elaine genuinely 
worried now. 

Just then, the Chinaman entered and stood a mo- 
ment gazing at them. They turned and Elaine re- 
coiled from him. Long bowed. 

" Oh sir," cried Mary, " We've made a mistake. 
Can't you tell us how to get out ? " 

Long's only answer was to spread out his hands in 
polite deprecation and shrug his suave shoulders. 

" No speke Englis," he said, gliding out again from 
the room and closing the door. 

Elaine and Mary looked about in despair. 

" What shall we do ? " asked Elaine. 

Mary said nothing, but with a hasty glance dis- 




a 



M 



2 



s 



THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 243 

covered on the wall the knife which Long had already 
told her about. She took it from its scabbard. As 
she did so the Chinaman returned with a tray on 
which were queer drinks and glasses. 

At the sight of Mary with the knife he scowled 
blackly, laid the tray down, and took a few steps in her 
direction. She brandished the knife threateningly, 
then, as if her nerve failed her, fainted letting the 
knife fall carefully on the floor so that it struck on the 
handle and not on the blade. 

Long quickly caught her as she fainted and carried 
her out of the room, banging shut the door. Elaine 
followed in a moment, loyally, to protect her supposed 
friend, but found that the door had a snap lock on the 
other side. 

She looked about wildly and in a moment Long re- 
appeared. As he advanced slowly and insinuatingly, 
she drew back, pleading. But her words fell on seem- 
ingly deaf ears. 

She had picked up the knife which Mary had 
dropped and when at last Long maneuvred to get her 
cornered and was about to seize her, she nerved her- 
self up and stabbed him resolutely. 

Long staggered back — and fell. 

As he did so, he pressed the bladder which he had 
already placed under his coat. A dark red fluid, like 
blood, oozed out all over him and ran in a pool on the 
floor. 

Elaine, too horror-stricken at what had happened 
even to scream, dropped the knife and bent over him. 
He did not move. She staggered back and ran 
through the now open door. As she did so, Long 
seemed suddenly to come to life. He raised himself 



244 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

and looked after her, then with a subtle smile sank 
back into his former assumed posture on the floor. 

When Elaine reached the other room, she found 
Mary there with the Chinese servant who was giving 
her a glass of water. At the sight of her, the servant 
paused, then withdrew into another room further 
back. Mary, now apparently recovering from her 
faintness, smiled wanly at Elaine. 

'' It's all right,'' she murmured. " He is a Chinese 
prince who thought we were callers." 

At the reassuring nod of Mary toward the front 
room, Elaine was overcome. 

"I — I killed him ! " she managed to gasp. 

" What ? " cried Mary, starting up and trembling 
violently. '' You killed him? '^ 

" Yes," sobbed Elaine, '' he came at me — I had the 
knife — I struck at him — " 

The two girls ran into the other room. There Mary 
looked at the motionless body on the floor and re- 
coiled, horrified. 

Elaine noticing some spots on her hands and seeing 
that they were stained by the blood of Long Sin, wiped 
the spots off on her hankerchief, dropping it on the 
floor. 

*' Ugh ! " exclaimed a guttural voice behind them. 

It was the servant who had come in. Even his or- 
dinarily impassive Oriental face could not conceal the 
horror and fear at the sight of his master lying on 
the floor in a pool of gore. Elaine was now more 
frightened than ever, if that were possible. 

'' You — kill him — with knife ? " insinuated the 
Chinese. 



THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 245 

Elaine was dumb. The servant did not wait for an 
answer, but hastily opened the hall door. 

To Elaine it seemed that something must be done 
quickly. A moment and all the house would be in 
uproar. 

Instead, he placed his finger on his lips. '' Quick 
— no word,'' he said, leading the way to the hall door, 
'' and — you must not leave that — it will be a clue/' 
he added, picking up the bloody handkerchief and 
pressing it into Elaine's hand. 

They quickly ran out into the hall. 

*' Go — quick ! " he urged again, '* and hide the 
handkerchief in the bag. Let no one see it ! " 

He shut the door. As they hurried away, Elaine 
breathed a sigh of relief. 

''Why did he let us go, though?" she whispered, 
her head in a whirl. 

'' I don't know," panted Mary, " but anyhow, thank 
heaven, we are out of it. Come," she added, taking 
Elaine's arm, " not a soul has seen us except the serv- 
ant. Let us get away as quietly as we can." 

They had reached the street. Afraid to run, they 
hurried as fast as they could until they turned the 
first corner. 

Elaine looked back. No one was pursuing. 

" We must separate," added Mary. " Let us go 
different ways. I will see you later. Perhaps they 
will think some enemy has murdered him." 

They pressed each other's hands and parted. 

Meanwhile in the front room. Long Sin was on his 
feet again brushing himself off and mopping up the 
blood. 



246 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

" It worked very well, Sam," he said to the servant. 

They were conversing eagerly and laughing and did 
not hear a noise in the back room. 

A sinister figure had made its way by means of a 
fire-escape to a rear window that was not, barred, and 
silently he had stolen in on them. 

Cat-like, he advanced, but instead of striking at 
them, he quietly took a seat in a chair close behind 
them, a magazine revolver in his hand. 

They turned at a slight noise and saw him. Gen- 
uine fright was now on their faces as they looked at 
him, open mouthed. 

" What's all this ? " he growled. " I am known as 
the Clutching Hand. I allow no interferences with 
my affairs. Tell me what you are doing here with 
Elaine Dodge." 

Their beady almond eyes flashed fear. Clutching 
Hand moved menacingly. There was nothing for the 
astute Long Sin to do but to submit. Cowed by the 
well-known power of the master criminal, he took 
Clutching Hand into his confidence. 

With a low bow. Long Sin spread out his hands in 
surrender and submission. 

" I will tell you, honorable sir," he said at length. 

'* Go on ! " growled the criminal. 

Quickly Long rehearsed what had happened, from 
the moment the idea of blackmail had entered his 
head. 

"How about Mary Carson?" asked Clutching 
Hand. " I saw her here." 

Long gave a glance of almost superstitious dread 
at the man, as if he had an evil eye. 



THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 247 

** She will be back — is here now/' he added, open- 
ing the door at a knock and admitting her. 

Adventuress Mary had hurried back to see that 
all was right. This time Mary was genuinely scared 
at the forbidding figure of which she had heard. 

" It is all right," pacified Long. *' Henceforth we 
work with the honorable Clutching Hand.'' 

Clutching Hand continued to emphasize his demands 
on them, punctuating his sentences by flourishes of 
the gun as he gave them the signs and passwords which 
would enable them to work with his own emissaries. 

It was a strange initiation. 

At home at last, Elaine sank down into a deep li- 
brary chair and stared straight ahead. She saw vi- 
sions of arrest and trial, of the terrible electric chair 
with herself in it, bound, and of the giving of the fatal 
signal for turning on the current. 

Were such things as these going to happen to her, 
without Kennedy's help? Why had they quarreled? 
She buried her face in her hands and wept. 

Then she could stand it no longer. She had not 
taken off her street clothes. She rose and almost fled 
from the house. 

Kennedy and I were still in the laboratory when a 
knock sounded at the door. I went to the door and 
opened it. There stood Elaine Dodge. 

It was a complete surprise to Craig. There was 
silence between them for a moment and they merely 
looked at each other. Elaine was pale and woebe- 
gone. 

At last Kennedy took a quick step toward her and 



248 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

led her to a chair. Still he felt a sort of constraint. 

" What is the matter? '' he asked at length. 

She hesitated, then suddenly burst out, '' Craig — I 
— I am — a murderess ! " 

I have never seen such a look on Craig's face. I 
know he wanted to laugh and say, '' You — a mur- 
deress ? " yet he would not have offended even her self 
accusation for the world. He managed to do the 
right thing and say nothing. 

Then she poured forth the story substantially as I 
have set it down, but without the explanation which 
at that time was not known to any of us. 

'' Oh," expostulated Craig, " there must be some 
mistake. It's impossible — impossible.'* 

'* No,'' she asserted. " Look — here's my handker- 
chief all spotted with blood." 

She opened the bag and displayed the blood-spotted 
handkerchief. He took it and examined it carefully. 

'' Elaine," he said earnestly, not at all displeased, I 
could see that something had come up that might 
blot out the past unfortunate misunderstanding, 
'' there simply must be something wrong here. Leave 
this handkerchief with me. I'll do my best." 

There was still a little restraint between them. She 
was almost ready to beg his pardon, for all the cool- 
ness there had been between them, yet still hesitated. 

" Thank you," she said simply as she left the labora- 
tory. 

Craig went to work abruptly without a word. 
On the laboratory table he placed his splendid mi- 
croscope and several cases of slides as well as innu- 



THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 249 

merable micro-photographs. He had been working for 
some time when he looked up. 

" Ever hear of Dr. Edward Reichert of the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania and his wonderful discoveries 
of how blood crystals vary in different species ? '* he 
asked. 

I had not, but did not admit it. 

'' Well/' he went on, " there is a blood test so deli- 
cate that one might almost say that he could identify 
a criminal by the finger prints, so to speak, of his 
blood crystals. The hemoglobin or red coloring mat- 
ter forms crystals and the variations of these crystals 
both in form and molecular construction are such that 
they set apart every species of animal from every 
other, and even the races of men — perhaps may even 
set apart individuals. Here, Walter, we have sample 
of human blood crystals." 

I looked through the microscope as he directed. 
There I could see the crystals sharply defined. 

*' And here,'' he added, '' are the crystals of the 
blood on Elaine's handkerchief." 

I looked again as he changed the slides. There was 
a marked diflference and I looked up at him quickly. 

*' It is dog's blood — not human blood," he said 
simply. 

I looked again at the two sets of slides. There 
could be no doubt that there was a plain diflference. 

** Wonderful ! " I exclaimed. 

" Yes — wonderful," he agreed, '' but what's the 
game back of all this — that's the main question now." 

Long after Clutching Hand had left. Long Sin was 
giving instructions to his servant and Adventuress 



250 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Mary just how he had had to change his plans as a re- 
sult of the unexpected visit. 

" Very well/' nodded Mary as she left him, '' I will 
do as you say — trust me." 

It was not much later, then, that Elaine received a 
second visit from Mary. 

*^ Show her in, Jennings,'' she said to the butler 
nervously. 

Indeed, she felt that every eye must be upon her. 
Even Jennings would know of her guilt soon. 

Anxiously, therefore, Elaine looked at her visitor. 

" Do you know why the servant allowed us to leave 
the apartment? " whispered Mary with a glance about 
fearfully, as if the walls had ears. 

" No — why ? " inquired Elaine anxiously. 

" He's a tong man who has been chosen to do away 
with the Prince. He followed me, and says you have 
done his work for him. If you will give him ten thou- 
sand dollars for expenses, he will attend to hiding the 
body." 

Here at least was a way out. 

" But do you think that is all right ? Can he do it ? " 
asked Elaine eagerly. 

'' Do it? Why those tong men can do anything for 
money. Only one must be careful not to offend 
them." 

Mary was very convincing. 

" Yes, I suppose you are right," agreed Elaine, 
finally. " I had better do as you say. It is the safest 
way out of the trouble. Yes, I'll do it. I'll stop at 
the bank now and get the money." 

They rose and Mary preceded her, eager to get 
away from the house. At the door, however, Elaine 



THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 251 

asked her to wait while she ran back on some pretext. 
In the library she took off the receiver of the tele- 
phone and quickly called a number. 

Our telephone rang in the middle of our conversa- 
tion on blood crystals and Kennedy himself answered 
it. 

It was Elaine asking Craig's advice. 

'' They have offered to hush the thing up for ten 
thousand dollars/" she said, in a muffled voice. 

She seemed bent on doing it and no amount of ar- 
gument from him could stop her. She simply refused 
to accept the evidence of the blood crystals as better 
than what her own eyes told her she had seen and 
done. 

'' Then wait for half an hour," he answered, with- 
out arguing further. '' You can do that without ex- 
citing suspicion. Go with her to her hotel and hand 
her over the money." 

''All right — I'll do it," she agreed. 

"What is the hotel?" 

Craig wrote on a slip of paper what she told him — 
" Room 509, Hotel La Coste." 

" Good — I'm glad you called me. Count on me," 
he finished as he hung up the receiver. 

Hastily he threw on his street coat. '' Go into the 
back room and get me that brace and bit, Walter," he 
asked. 

I did so. When I returned, I saw that he had 
placed the detectascope and some other stufif in a bag. 
He shoved in the brace and bit also. 

" Come on — hurry ! " he urged. 

We must have made record time in getting to the 



252 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Coste. It was an ornate place, where merely to 
breathe was expensive. We entered and by some ex- 
cuse Kennedy contrived to get past the vigilant bell- 
hops. We passed the telephone switchboard and en- 
tered the elevator, getting oflf at the fifth floor. 

With a hasty glance up and down the corridor, to 
make sure no one was about, Kennedy came to room 
509, then passed to the next, 511, opening the door 
with a skeleton key. We entered and Craig locked 
the door behind us. It was an ordinary hotel room, 
but well-furnished. Fortunately it was unoccupied. 

Quietly Craig went to the door which led to the 
next room. It was, of course, locked also. He lis- 
tened a moment carefully. Not a sound. Quickly, 
with an exclamation of satisfaction, he opened that 
door also and went into 509. 

This room was much like that in which we had al- 
ready been. He opened the hall door. 

'' Watch here, Walter," he directed. " Let me know 
at the slightest alarm." 

Craig had already taken the brace and bit from the 
bag and started to bore through the wall into room 
511, selecting a spot behind a picture of a Spanish 
dancer — a spot directly back of her snapping black 
eyes. He finished quickly and inserted the detecta- 
scope so that the lens fitted as an eye in the picture. 
The eye piece was in Room 511. Then he started to 
brush up the pieces of plaster on the floor. 

*' Craig," I whispered hastily as I heard an elevator 
door, '' someone's coming ! " 

He hurried to the door and looked. '' There they 
are," he said, as we saw Elaine and Mary rounding 
the corner of the hall. 



THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 25.3 

Across the hall, although we did not know it at 
the time, in room 540, already. Long Sin had taken 
up his station, just to be handy. There he had been 
with his servant, playing with his two trained white 
rats. 

Long placed them up his capacious sleeves and care- 
fully opened the door to look out. Unfortunately he 
wa 'ast in time to see the door of 509 open and dis- 
close us. 

His subtle glance detected our presence without 
our knowing it. 

Hastily picking up the brace and bit and the rest 
of the debris, and with a last look at the detectascope, 
which was hardly noticeable, even if one already knew 
it was there, we hurried into 511 and shut the door. 

Kennedy mounted a chair and applied his eye to the 
detectascope. Just then Mary and Elaine entered the 
next room, Mary opening the door with a regular 
key. 

'' Won't you step in ? '' she asked. 

Elaine did so and Mary hesitated in the hall. Long 
Sin had slipped out on noiseless feet and taken refuge 
behind some curtains. As he saw her alone, he 
beckoned to Mary. 

'' There's a stranger in the next room," he whis- 
pered. '' I don't like him. Take the money and as 
quickly as possible get out and go to my apartment." 

At the news that there was a suspicious stranger 
about, Mary showed great alarm. Everything was so 
rapid, now, that the slightest hesitation meant disaster. 
Perhaps, by quickness, even a suspicious stranger 
could be fooled, she reasoned. At any rate, Long Sin 
was resourceful. She had better trust him. 



254 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Mary followed Elaine into the room, where she had 
seated herself already, and locked the door. 

'* Have you the money there ? " she asked. 

" Yes," nodded Elaine, taking out the package of 
bills which she had got from the bank during the half 
hour delay. 

All this we could see by gazing alternately through 
the detectascope. 

Elaine handed Mary the money. Mary counted it 
slowly. At last she looked up. 

'' It's all right,'' she said. '' Now, Til take this to 
that tong leader — he's in a room only just across the 
hall." 

She went out. 

Kennedy at the detectascope was very excited as 
this went on. He now jumped off the chair on which 
he had been standing and rushed to the door to head 
her off. 

To our surprise, in spite of the fact that we could 
turn the key in the lock, it vv^as impossible to open it ! 

It was only a moment that Craig paused at the 
door. The next moment he burst into 509, followed 
closely by me. 

With a scream, Elaine was on her feet in an instant. 

There was no time for explanations, however. 

He rushed to the door to go out, but it was locked 
— somehow, on the outside. The skeleton key would 
not work, at any rate. 

He shot the lock, and dashed out, calling back, 
** Walter, stay there — with Elaine." 

Mary had just succeeded in getting on the elevator 
as Kennedy hurried down the hall. The door was 



THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 255 

dosed and the car descended. He rang the push bell 
furiously, but there was no answer. 

Had he got so far in the chase, only to be outwitted ? 

He dashed back to the room, with us, and jerked 
down the telephone receiver. 

^^Hello — hello — hello!" he called. 

No answer. 

There seemed to be no way to get a connection. 
What was the matter? 

He hurried down the hall again. 

No sooner had Elaine and Mary actually gone into 
the room, than Long and his servant stole out of 540, 
across the hall. Somewhere they had obtained a 
strong but thin rope. 

Quickly and silently Long tied the handle of the 
door 511 in which we were to the handle of 540 which 
he was vacating. As both doors opened inward and 
were opposite, they were virtually locked. 

Then Long and his servant hurried down the hall- 
way to the elevator. 

Down in the hotel lobby, with his followers, the 
Chinaman paused before the telephone switchboard 
where two girls were at work. 

'' You may go," ordered Long, and, as his man left, 
he moved over closer to the switchboard. 

He was listening eagerly and also watching an in- 
dicator that told the numbers of the rooms which 
called, as they flashed into view. 

Just as a call from " 509 " flashed up, Long slipped 
the rings off his little fingers and loosened the white 
rats on the telephone switchboard itself. 



256 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

With a shriek, the telephone system of the Coste 
went temporarily out of business. 

The operators fled to the nearest chairs, drawing 
their skirts about them. 

There was the greatest excitement among all the 
women in the corridor. Such a display of hosiery 
was never contemplated by even the most daring cos- 
tumers. 

Shouts from the bellboys who sought to catch the 
rats who scampered hither and thither in frightened 
abandon mingled with the shrieks of the ladies. 

Kennedy had succeeded in finding the alcove of the 
floor clerk in charge of the fifth floor. There on his 
desk was an instrument having a stylus on the end of 
two arms, connected to a system of magnets. It was 
a telautograph. 

Unceremoniously, Craig pushed the clerk out of his 
seat and sat down himself. It was a last chance, now 
that the telephone was out of commission. 

Downstairs, in the hotel office, where the excite- 
ment had not spread to everyone, was the other end of 
the electric long distance writer. 

It started to write, as Kennedy wrote, upstairs : 

" House detective — quick — hold woman with 
blue chatelaine bag, getting out of elevator." 

The clerks downstairs saw it and shouted above the 
din of the rat-baiting. 

"McCann — McCann!" 

The clerk had torn off the message from the tel- 
autograph register, and handed it to the house man 
who- pushed his way to the desk. 

Quickly the detective called to the bell-hops. To- 
gether they hurried after the well-dressed woman who 



THE BLOOD CRYSTALS 257 

had just swept out of the elevator. Mary had al- 
ready passed through the excited lobby and out, and 
was about to cross the street — safe. 

McCann and the bell-hops were now in full cry after 
her. Flight was useless. She took refuge in indigna- 
tion and threats. 

But McCann was obdurate. She passed quickly to 
tears and pleadings. It had no effect. They insisted 
on leading her back. The game was up. 

Even an offer of money failed to move their ada- 
mantine hearts. Nothing would do but that she must 
face her accusers. 

In the meantime Long Sin had recovered his pre- 
cious and useful pets. Life in the Coste had assumed 
something of its normal aspect, and Craig had suc- 
ceeded in getting an elevator. 

It was just as Mary was led in threatening and 
pleading by turns that he stepped off in the lobby. 

There was, however, still just enough excitement to 
cover a little pantomime. Long Sin had been about to 
slip out of a side door, thinking all was well, when he 
caught sight of Mary being led back. She had also 
seen him, and began to struggle again. 

Quickly he shook his head, indicating for her to 
stop. Then slowly he secretly made the sign of the 
Clutching Hand at her. It meant that she must not 
snitch. 

She obeyed instantly, and he quietly disappeared. 

** Here,'' cried Kennedy, " take her up in the ele- 
vator, ril prove the case." 

With the house detective and Kennedy, Mary was 
hustled into the elevator and whisked back as she had 
escaped. 



258 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

In the meantime I had gathered up what stuff we 
had in the room we had entered and had returned with 
Kennedy's bag. 

" Wh — what's it all about ? " inquired Elaine ex- 
citedly. 

I tried to explain. 

Just then, out in the hall we could hear loud voices, 
and that of Mary above the rest. Kennedy, a man 
who looked like a detective, and some bell-boys were 
leading her toward us. 

'' Now — not a word of who she is in the papers, 
McCann,'' Kennedy was saying, evidently about Elaine. 
'* You know it wouldn't sound well for La Coste. As 
for that woman — well, I've got the money back. 
You can take her off — make the charge." 

As the house man left with Mary, I handed Craig 
his bag. We moved toward the door, and as we stood 
there a moment with Elaine, he quietly handed over to 
her the big roll of bills. 

She took it, with surprise still written in her big 
blue eyes. '' Oh — thank you — I might have known 
it was only a blackmail scheme," she cried eagerly^ 

Craig held out his hand and she took it quickly, gaz- 
ing into his eyes. Craig bowed politely, not quite 
knowing what to do under the circumstances. 

If he had been less of a scientist, he might have 
understood the look on her face, but, with a nod to 
me, he turned, and went. 

As she looked first at him, then at the paltry ten 
thousand in her hand, Elaine stamped her little foot 
in vexation. 

" I'm glad I didn't say anything more," she cried. 
" No — no — he shall beg my pardon first — there ! " 



THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 259 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 

Elaine was seated in the drawing room with Aunt 
Josephine one afternoon, when her lawyer, Perry Ben- 
nett, dropped in unexpectedly. 

He had hardly greeted them when the butler, Jen- 
nings, in his usual impassive manner announced that 
Aunt Josephine was wanted on the telephone. 

No sooner were Elaine and Bennett alone, than 
Elaine, turning to him, exclaimed impulsively, '' I'm 
so glad you have come. I have been longing to see 
you and to tell you about a strange dream I have had." 

" What was it?" he asked, with instant interest. 

Leaning back in her chair and gazing before her 
tremulously, Elaine continued, '' Last night, I dreamed 
that father came to me and told me that if I would 
give up Kennedy and put my trust in you, I would 
find the Clutching Hand. I don't know what to think 
of it." 

Bennett, who had been listening intently, remained 
silent for a few moments. Then, putting down his tea 
cup, he moved over nearer to Elaine and bent over 
her. 

" Elaine," he said in a low tone, his remarkable eyes 
looking straight into her own, " you must know that I 
love you. Then give me the right to protect you. 
It was your father's dearest wish, I believe, that we 
should marry. Let me share your dangers and I 
swear that sooner or later there will be an end to the 
Clutching Hand. Give me your answer, Elaine," he 



26o THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

urged, '' and make me the happiest man in all the 
world/' 

Elaine listened, and not unsympathetically, as Ben- 
nett continued to plead for her answer. 

'' Wait a little while — until to-morrow," she replied 
finally, as if overcome by the recollections of her 
weird dream and the unexpected sequel of his pro- 
posal. 

" Let it be as you wish, then," agreed Bennett 
quietly. 

He took her hand and kissed it passionately. 

An instant later Aunt Josephine returned. Elaine, 
unstrung by what had happened, excused herself and 
went into the library. 

She sank into one of the capacious arm chairs, and 
passing her hand wearily over her throbbing forehead, 
closed her eyes in deep thought. Involuntarily, her 
mind travelled back over the rapid succession of events 
of the past few weeks and the part that she had 
thought, at least, Kennedy had come to play in her life. 

Then she thought of their recent misunderstanding. 
Might there not be some simple explanation of it, after 
all, which she had missed ? What should she do ? 

She solved the problem by taking up the telephone 
and asking for Kennedy's number. 

I was chatting with Craig in his laboratory, and, at 
the same time, was watching him in his experimental 
work. Just as a call came on the telephone, he was 
pouring some nitro-hydrochloric acid into a test tube 
to complete a reaction. 

The telephone tinkled and he laid down the bottle 



THE DE\TL WORSHIPPERS 261 

of acid on his desk, while he moved a few steps to 
answer the call. 

Whoever the speaker was, Craig seemed deeply in- 
terested, and, not knowing who was talking on the 
wire, I was eager to learn whether it was anyone con- 
nected with the case of the Clutching Hand. 

" Yes, this is Mr. Kennedy/' I heard Craig say. 

I moved over toward him and whispered eagerly, 
'' Is there anything new ? '' 

A little impatient at being interrupted, Kennedy 
w^aved me off. It occurred to me that he might need 
a pad and pencil to make a note of some information 
and I reached over the desk for them. 

As I did so my arm inadvertently struck the bottle 
of acid, knocking it over on the top of the dask. Its 
contents streamed out saturating the telephone wires 
before I could prevent it. In trying to right the bot- 
tle my hand came in contact with the acid which 
burned like liquid fire, and I cried out in pain. 

Craig hastily laid down the receiver, seized me and 
rushed me to the back of the laboratory where he 
drenched my hand with a neutralizing liquid. 

He bound up the wounds caused by the acid, which 
proved to be slight, after all, and then returned to the 
telephone. 

To his evident annoyance, he discovered that the 
acid had burned through the wires and cut oflF all con- 
nection. 

Though I did not know it, my hand was, in a sense 
at least, the hand of fate. 

At the other end of the line, Elaine was listening 
impatiently for a response to her first eager words of 



262 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

inquiry. She was astounded to find, at last, that Ken- 
nedy had apparently left the telephone without any 
explanation or apology. 

'' Why — he rang off/' she exclaimed angrily to her- 
self, as she hung up the receiver and left the room. 

She rejoined her Aunt Josephine and Bennett who 
had been chatting together in the drawing room, still 
wondering at the queer rebuff she had, seemingly, ex- 
perienced. 

Bennett rose to go, and, as he parted from Elaine, 
found an opportunity to whisper a few words remind- 
ing her of her promised reply on the morrow. 

Piqued, at Kennedy, she flashed Bennett a meaning 
glance which gave him to understand that his suit 
was not hopeless. 

In the center of a devious and winding way, quite 
unknown to all except those who knew the innermost 
secrets of the Chinese quarter and even unknown to 
the police, there was a dingy tenement house, ap- 
parently inhabited by hardworking Chinamen, but in 
reality the headquarters of the notorious devil wor- 
shippers, a sect of Satanists, banned even in the Ce- 
lestial Empire. 

The followers of the cult comprised some of the 
most dangerous Chinese criminals, thugs, and assas- 
sins, besides a number of dangerous characters who 
belonged to various Chinese secret societies. At the 
head of this formidable organization was Long Sin, 
the high priest of the Devil God, and Long Sin had, 
as we knew, already joined forces with the notorious 
Clutching Hand. 

The room in which the uncanny rites of the devil 



THE DE\TL WORSHIPPERS 263 

worshippers were conducted w^as a large apartment 
decorated in Chinese style, with highly colored por- 
traits of some of the devil deities and costly silken 
hangings. Beside a large dais depended a huge Chi- 
nese gong. 

On the dais itself stood, or rather sat, an ugly look- 
ing figure covered with some sort of metallic plating. 
It almost seemed to be the mummy of a Chinaman 
covered with gold leaf. It was thin and shrunken, 
entirely nude. 

Into this room came Long Sin attired in an elaborate 
silken robe. He advanced and kowtowed before the 
dais with its strange figure, and laid down an offering 
before it, consisting of punk sticks, little dishes of 
Chinese cakes, rice, a jar of oil, and some cooked 
chicken and pork. Then he bowed and kowtowed 
again. 

This performance was witnessed by twenty or 
thirty Chinamen who knelt in the rear of the room. 
As Long Sin finished his devotions they filed past the 
dais, bowing and scraping with every sign of abject 
reverence both for the devil deity and his high priest. 

At the same time an aged Chinaman carrying a 
prayer wheel entered the place and after prostrating 
himself devoutedly placed the machine on a sort of 
low stool or tabourette and began turning it slowly, 
muttering. Each revolution of this curious wheel was 
supposed to offer a prayer to the god of the nether- 
world. 

A few moments later. Long Sin, who had been bow- 
ing before the metallic figure in deepest reverence, 
suddenly sprang to his feet. His glazed eye and ex- 



264 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

cited manner indicated that he had received a message 
from the Hps of the strange idol. 

The worshippers who had prostrated themselves in 
awe at the sight of their high priest in the unholy 
frenzy, all rose to their feet and crowded forward. 
At the same time Long Sin advanced a step to meet 
them, holding his arms outstretched as if to compel 
silence while he delivered his message. 

Long Sin struck several blows on the resounding 
gong and then raised his voice in solemn tones. 

*' Ksing Chau, the Terrible, demands a consort. 
She is to be foreign — fair of face and with golden 
hair." 

Amazed at this unexpected message, the Chinamen 
prostrated themselves again and their unhallowed de- 
votions terminated a few moments later amid sup- 
pressed excitement as they filed out. 

At the same time, in a room of the adjoining house, 
the Clutching Hand himself was busily engaged mak- 
ing the most elaborate preparations for some nefarious 
scheme which his fertile mind had evolved. 

The room had been fitted up as a medium's seance 
parlor, with black hangings on the walls, while at one 
side there was a square cabinet of black cloth, with 
a guitar lying before it. 

Two of the Clutching Hand's most trusted con- 
federates and a hard-faced woman of middle age, 
dressed in plain black, were putting the finishing 
touches to this apartment, when their Chief entered. 

Clutching Hand gazed about the room, now and 
then giving an order or two to make more effective the 
setting for the purpose which he had in mind. 



THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 265 

Finally he nodded in approval and stepped over to 
the fire place where logs were burning brightly in a 
grate. 

Pressing a spring in the mantelpiece, the master 
criminal effected an instant transformation. The logs 
in the fireplace^ still burning, disappeared immediately 
through the side of the brick tiling and a metal sheet 
covered them. An aperture opened at the back, as if 
by magic. 

Through this opening Clutching Hand made his way 
quickly and disappeared. 

Emerging on the other side of the peculiar fire- 
place, Clutching Hand pushed aside a curtain which 
barred the way and looked into the Chinese temple, 
taking up a position behind the metallic figure on the 
dais. 

The Chinamen had by this time finished their devo- 
tions, if such they might be called, and the last one 
was leaving, while Long Sin stood alone on the dais. 

The noise of the departing Satanists had scarcely 
died away when Clutching Hand stepped out. 

'' Follow me,'' he ordered hoarsely seizing Long Sin 
by the arm and leading him away. 

They passed through the passageway of the fire- 
place and, having entered the seance room, Clutching 
Hand began briefly explaining the purpose of the prep- 
arations that had been made. Long Sin wagged his 
head in voluble approval. 

As Clutching Hand finished, the Chinaman turned 
to the hard-faced woman who was to act the part of 
medium and added some directions to those Clutching 
Hand had already given. 

The medium nodded acquiescence, and a moment 



266 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

later, left the room to carry out some ingenious plot 
framed by the master mind of the criminal world. 

Elaine was standing in the library gazing sadly at 
Kennedy's portrait, thinking over recent events and 
above all the rebuff over the telephone which she sup- 
posed she had received. 

It all seemed so unreal to her. Surely, she felt in 
her heart, she could not have been so mistaken in 
the man. Yet the facts seemed to speak for them- 
selves. 

In spite of it all, she was almost about to kiss the 
portrait when something seemed to stay her hands. 
Instead she laid the picture down, with a sigh. 

A moment later, Jennings entered with a card on a 
salver. Elaine took it and saw with surprise the name 
of her caller: 

MADAME SAVETSKY, MEDIUM 

Beneath the engraved name were the words written 
in ink, *^ I have a message from the spirit of your 
father." 

*' Yes, I will see her,'' cried Elaine eagerly, in re- 
sponse to the butler's inquiry. 

She followed Jennings into the adjoining room and 
there found herself face to face with the hard-featured 
woman who had only a few moments before left the 
Clutching Hand. 

Elaine looked rather than spoke her inquiry. 

*' Your father, my dear," purred the medium with 
a great pretence of suppressed excitement, " appeared 
to me, the other night, from the spirit world. I was 



THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 267 

in a trance and he asked me to deliver a message to 
you/^ 

''What was the message?" asked Elaine breath- 
lessly, now aroused to intense interest. 

" I must go into a trance again to get it/' replied the 
insinuating Savetsky% '' and if you like I can try it 
at once, provided we can be left alone long enough." 

'' Please — don't wait," urged Elaine, pulling the 
portieres of the doors closer, as if that might insure 
privacy. 

Seated in her chair, the medium muttered wildly for 
a few moments, rolled her eyes and with some con- 
vulsive movements pretended to go into a trance. 

Savetsky seemed about to speak and Elaine, in the 
highest state of nervous tension, listened, trying to 
make something of the gibberish mutterings. 

Suddenly the curtains were pushed aside and Aunt 
Josephine and Bennett, who had just come in, entered. 

'' I can do nothing here," exclaimed Savetsky, start- 
ing up and looking about severely. " You must come 
to my seance chamber where we shall not be inter- 
rupted." 

'' I will," cried Elaine, vexed at the intrusion at that 
moment. *' I must have that message — I must." 

''What's all this, Elaine?" demanded Aunt Jo- 
sephine. 

Hurriedly, Elaine poured forth to her aunt and Ben- 
nett the story of the medium's visit and the promised 
message from her father in the other world. 

Aunt Josephine, who was not one easily to be im- 
posed on, strongly objected to Elaine's proposal to ac- 
company Savetsky to the seance chamber, but Elaine 



268 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

would not be denied. She pleaded with her aunt, urg- 
ing that she be allowed to go. 

'' It might be safe for Elaine to go/' Bennett finally- 
suggested to Aunt Josephine, '' if you and I accom- i 
panied her." 

All this time the medium was listening closely to 
the conversation. Elaine looked at her inquiringly. 
With a shrug, she indicated that she had no objection 
to having Elaine escorted to the parlor by her friends. 

At last Aunt Josephine, influenced by Elaine's plead- 
ings and Bennett's suggestion, gave in and agreed to 
join in the visit. 

A few moments later, in the Dodge car, Elaine, the 
medium, and her two escorts started for the Chinese 
quarter. 

At the house, the medium opened the door with her 
key and ushered in her three visitors. 

Long Sin who had been watching for their arrival 
from the window now hastily withdrew from the se- 
ance room and disappeared behind the black curtains. 

Entering the room the medium at once prepared for 
the seance by pulling down the window shades. Then 
she seated herself in a chair beside the cabinet, and 
appeared to fall off slowly into a trance. 

Her strange proceedings were watched with the 
greatest curiosity by Elaine as well as Aunt Josephine 
and Bennett, who had taken seats placed at one side 
of the room. 

The room itself was dimly lighted, and the curtains 
of the cabinet seemed, in the obscurity, to sway back 
and forth as if stirred by some ghostly breeze. 



THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 269 

All of them were now quite on edge with excite- 
ment. 

Suddenly an indistinct face was seen to be peering 
through the black curtains, as it were. 

The guitar, as if lifted by an invisible hand, left the 
cabinet, floated about close to the ceiling, and returned 
again. It was eerie. 

At last a voice, deep, sepulchral, was heard in slow 
and solemn tones. 

''I am Eeko — the spirit of Taylor Dodge. I will 
give no message until one named Josephine leaves the 
room." 

No sooner had the words been uttered than the 
medium came writhing out of her trance. 

'' What happened ? " she asked, looking at Elaine. 

Elaine reported the spirit's words. 

'' We can get nothing if your Aunt stays here," 
Savetsky added, insisting that Aunt Josephine must 
go. '' Your father cannot speak while she is present." 

Aunt Josephine, annoyed by what she had heard, in- 
dignantly refused to go and was deaf to all Elaine's 
pleadings. 

'' I think it will be all right," finally acquiesced Ben- 
nett, seeing how bent Elaine was on securing the mes- 
sage. *' I'll stay and protect her." 

Aunt Josephine finally agreed. '' Very well, then," 
she protested, marching out of the room in a high 
state of indignation. 

She had scarcely left the house, however, when she 
began to suspect that all was not as it ought to be. 
In fact, the idea had no sooner occurred to her than 
she decided to call on Kennedy and she ordered the 



270 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

chauffeur to take her as quickly as possible to the 
laboratory. 

Kennedy had not been in the laboratory all the day, 
after my experience with the acid and I was impa- 
tiently awaiting his arrival. At last there came a 
knock at the door and I opened it hurriedly. There 
was a messenger boy who handed me a note. I tore 
it open. It was from Kennedy and read, " I shall 
probably be away for two or three days. Call up 
Elaine and tell her to beware of a certain Madame 
Savetsky." 

I was still puzzling over the note and was just about 
to call up Elaine when the speaking tube was blown 
and to my surprise I found it was Aunt Josephine who 
had called. 

"Where is Mr. Kennedy?" she asked, greatly agi- 
tated. 

'' He has gone away for a few days," I replied 
blankly. " Is there anything I can do ? " 

She was very excited and hastily related what had 
happened at the parlor of the medium. 

" What was her name ? " I asked anxiously. 

*' Madame Savetsky," she replied, to my surprise. 

Astounded, I picked up Craig's note from the desk 
and handed it to her without a word. She read it 
with breathless eagerness. 

'' Come back there with me, please," she begged, al- 
most frantic with fear now. " Something terrible may 
have happened." 

Aunt Josephine had hardly left Savetsky when the 
trance was resumed and, in a few minutes, there came 



THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 271 

all sorts of supernatural manifestations. The table 
beside Elaine began to turn and articles on it dropped 
to the floor. Violent rappings followed in various 
parts of the room. Both Elaine and Bennett who sat 
together in silence were much impressed by the marvel- 
lous phenomena — not being able to see, in the dark- 
ness, the concealed wires that made them possible. 

Suddenly, from the mysterious shadows of the 
cabinet, there appeared the spirit of Long Sin, whose 
death Elaine still believed she had caused when Ad- 
venturess Mary had lured her to the apartment. 

Elaine was trembling with fear at the apparition. 

As before, a strange voice sounded in the depths of 
the cabinet and again a message was heard, in low, 
solemn tones. 

'' I am Keka, and I have with me Long Sin. His 
blood cries for vengeance.'' 

Elaine was overcome with horror at the words. 

From the cabinet ran a thick stream of red, like 
blood, from which she recoiled, shuddering. 

Then a dim, ghostly figure, apparently that of Long 
Sin, appeared. The face was horribly distorted. It 
seemed to breathe the very odor of the grave. 

With arms outstretched, the figure glided from the 
cabinet and approached Elaine. She shrank back 
further in fright, too horrified even to scream. 

At the same moment, the medium drew a vapor 
pistol from her dress, and, as the ghost of Long Sin 
leaped at Elaine, Savetsky darted forward and shot a 
stream of vapor full in Bennett's face. 

Bennett dropped unconscious, the lights in the dark- 
ened room flashed up, and several of the men of the 
Clutchingf Hand rushed in. 



2^2 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Quickly the fireplace was turned on its cleverly con- 
structed hinges, revealing the hidden passage. 

Before any effective resistance could be made, 
Elaine and Bennett were hustled through the passage, 
securely bound, and placed on a divan in a curtained 
chamber back of the altar of the devil worshippers. 

There they lay when Long Sin, now in his priestly 
robes, entered. He looked at them a moment. Then 
he left the room with a sinister laugh. 

It was at that moment that I, little dreaming of what 
had been taking place, arrived with Aunt Josephine at 
the house of the medium. 

She answered my ring and admitted us. To our 
surprise, the seance room was empty. 

*' Where is the young lady who was here ? " I asked. 

" Miss Dodge and the gentleman just left a few 
minutes ago," the medium explained, as we looked 
about. 

She seemed eager to satisfy us that Elaine was n-ot 
there. Apparently there was no excuse for disputing 
her word, but, as we turned to leave, I happened to 
notice a torn handkerchief lying on the floor near the 
fireplace. It flashed over me that perhaps it might 
afford a clue. 

As I passed it, I purposely dropped my soft hat over 
it and picked up the hat, securing the handkerchief 
without attracting Savetsky's attention. 

Aunt Josephine was keen now for returning home 
to find out whether Elaine was there or not. No 
sooner had she entered the car and driven off, than I 
examined the handkerchief. It was torn, as if it had 
been crushed in the hand during a struggle and 



THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 273 

wrenched away. I looked closer. In the corner was 
the initial, '' E.'' 

That was enough. Without losing another precious 
moment I hurried around to the nearest police station, 
where I happened to be known, having had several 
assignments for the Star in that part of the city, and 
gave an alarm. 

The sergeant detailed several roundsmen, and a man 
in plainclothes, and together we returned to the house, 
laying a careful plan to surround it secretly, while the 
plainclothesman and I obtained admittance. 

Meanwhile, the Chinese devil worshippers had again 
gathered in their cursed temple and Long Sin, in his 
priestly robe, appeared on the dais. 

The worshippers kowtowed reverently to him, while 
at the back again stood the aged Chinaman patiently 
turning his prayer wheel. 

Two braziers, or smoke pots, had been placed on the 
dais, one of which Long Sin touched with a stick 
causing it to burst out into dense fumes. 

Standing before them, he chanted in nasal tones, 
" The white consort of the great Ksing Chau has been 
found. It is his will that she now be made his." 

As he finished intoning the message. Long Sin 
signaled to two young Chinamen to go into the ante- 
room. A moment later they returned with Elaine. 

Frightened though she was, Elaine made no attempt 
to struggle, even when they had cut her bonds. She 
was busily engaged in seeking some method of escape. 
Her eyes travelled over the place quickly. Appar- 
ently, there was no means of exit that was not guarded. 
Long Sin saw her look, and smiled quietly. 



274 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

They had carried her up to the dais, and now Long 
Sin faced her and sternly ordered her to kowtow to 
the gruesome metalHc figure. 

She refused, but instantly the Chinamen seized her 
arm and twisted it, until they had compelled her to 
fall to her knees. 

Having forced her to kowtow, Long Sin turned to 
the assembled devil dancers. 

'' With magic and rare drugs,'' he chanted, '' she 
shall be made to pass beyond and her body encased in 
precious gold shall be the consort of Ksing Chau — 
forever and ever." 

He made another sign and several pots and braziers 
were brought out and placed on the dais beside Elaine. 
She was, by this time, completely overcome by the 
horror of the situation. There was apparently no es- 
cape. 

With callous deviltry, the oriental satanists had 
made every arrangement for embalming and preserv^- 
ing the body of Elaine. Pots filled with sticky black 
material were slowly heated, amid weird incantations, 
while other Chinamen laid out innumerable sheets of 
gold leaf. 

At last all seemed to be in readiness to proceed. 

*' Hold her," ordered Long Sin in guttural Chinese 
to the two attendants, as he approached her. 

Long Sin held in his hand a small, profusely 
decorated pot from which smoke was escaping. As 
he approached he passed this receptacle under her nose 
once, twice, three times. 

Gradually Elaine fell into unconsciousness. 

While Elaine was facing death in the power of the 





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THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 275 

devil worshippers, I had reached the house of Savetsky 
next door with the police, and the place had been 
quietly surrounded. 

With the plainclothesman, a daring and intelligent 
fellow, I went to the door and rang the bell. 

'' What can I do for you ? '' asked the medium, ad- 
mitting us. 

'' My friend, here," I parleyed, " is in great business 
trouble. Can your controlling spirit give him ad- 
vice?" 

We had managed to gain the interior of the seance 
room, and I suppose there was nothing else for her to 
say, under the circumstances, but, '' Why — yes, — if 
the conditions are good, the control can probably tell 
us just what he wants to know." 

Savetsky set to work preparing the room for a 
seance. As she moved over to the window to pull 
down the shades, she must have caught sight of one 
or two of the policemen who had incautiously exposed 
themselves from the hiding places in which I had dis- 
posed them before we entered. At any rate, Savetsky 
did not lose a jot of her remarkable composure. 

" I'm sorry," she remarked merely, '' but Tm afraid 
my control is weak and cannot work today." 

She took a step toward the door, motioning us to 
leave. Neither of us paid any attention to that hint, 
but remained seated as we had been before. 

" Go ! " she exclaimed at length, for the first time 
showing a trace of nervousness. 

Evidently her suspicions had been fully confirmed 
by our actions. We tried to argue with her to gain 
time. But it was of no use. 

Almost before I knew what she was doing, she made 



276 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

a dash for something in the corner of the room. It 
was time for open action, and I seized her quickly. 

My detective was on his feet in an instant. 

'' I'll take care of her/' he ground out, seizing her 
wrists in his vice-like grasp. '' You give the signal.'' 

I rushed to the window, threw up the shade and 
opened the sash, waving our preconcerted sign, turning 
again toward the room. 

With a sudden accession of desperate strength, 
Savetsky broke away from the plainclothesman and 
again attempted to get at something concealed on the 
wall. I had turned just in time to fling myself between 
her and whatever object she had in mind. 

As the detective took her again and twisted her arm 
until she cried out in pain, I hastily investigated the 
wall. She had evidently been attempting to press a 
button that rang a concealed bell. 

What did it all mean? 



Elaine, now completely unconscious, was being held 
by the Chinamen, while her arm was smeared with 
sticky black material from the cauldron by Long Sin. 
As the high priest of Satan worked, the devil wor- 
shippers kowtowed obediently. 

Suddenly the aged Chinaman with the prayer wheel 
stopped his incessant, impious turning, and rising, held 
up his hand as if to command attention. 

Amid a general exclamation of wonder, he walked 
to the dais and mounted it turning and facing the wor- 
shippers. 

*' This is nonsense," he cried in a loud tone. " Why 



THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 277 

should our great Ksing Chau desire a white devil ? I, 
a great grandfather, demand to know." 

The effect on the worshippers was electric. They 
paused in their obeisance and stared at the speaker, 
then at their high priest. 

Shaking with rage, Long Sin ordered the intruder 
off the dais. But the aged devotee refused to go. 

** Throw him out," he ordered his attendants. 

For answer, as the two young Chinamen approached, 
the old Chinaman threw them down to the floor with 
a quick jiu-jitsu movement. His strength seemed 
miraculous for so aged a man. 

Furious now beyond expression. Long Sin stepped 
forward himself. He seized the beard and queue of 
the intruder. To his utter amazement, they came off ! 

It was Kennedy ! 

With his automatic drawn, before the astounded 
devil dancers could recover themselves, Craig stood at 
bay. 

Long Sin leaped behind the big gong. As the 
Chinamen rushed forward to seize him, Kennedy shot 
the leader of Long Sin's attendants and struck down 
the other with a blow. The rush was checked for the 
moment. But the odds were fearful. 

Kennedy seized Elaine's yielding body and, pushing 
back the curtains to the anteroom, succeeded in gain- 
ing it, and locking the door into the main temple. 

Bennett was still lying on the floor tightly bound. 
With a few deft cuts by a Chinese knife which he had 
picked up, Kennedy released him. 

At the same time, Chinamen were trying to batter 
down the door, Kennedy's last bulwark. It was sway- 
ing under their repeated blows. 



278 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Kennedy rushed to the door and fired through it at 
random to check the attack for a few moments. 

While Kennedy was thus besieged by the devil wor- 
shippers in the anteroom, several policemen and de- 
tectives gathered in the seance room with us, next 
door, where Savetsky was held a defiant and mute pris- 
oner. 

I had discovered the bell, and, taking that as a 
guide, I started to trace the course of a wire which 
ran alongside the wall, feeling certain that it would 
give me a clue to some adjoining room to which 
Elaine might possibly have been taken. 

To the fireplace I traced the bell, and, in pulling on 
the wire, I luckily pressed a secret spring. To my 
amazement, the whole fireplace swung out of sight and 
disclosed a secret passageway. 

I looked through it. 

It was almost at that precise instant that the door 
of the anteroom burst open and the Chinamen swarmed 
in, urged on by the insane exhortations of Long Sin. 

To my utter amazement, I recognized Kennedy's 
voice. 

In the first onslaught, Craig shot one Chinaman 
dead, then closed with the others, slashing right and 
left with the Chinese knife he had picked up. 

Bennett came to his aid, but was immediately over- 
come by two Chinamen, who evidently had been de- 
tailed for that purpose. 

Meanwhile, Kennedy and the others were engaged in 
a terrible life and death struggle. They fought all 
over the room, dismantling it, and even tearing the 
hangings from the wall. 



THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS 279 

It was just as the Chinese was about to overpower 
him that I led the poUce and detectives through the 
passageway of the fireplace. 

It was a glorious fight that followed. Long Sin and 
his Chinamen were no match for the police and were 
soon completely routed, the police striking furiously 
in all directions and clearing the room. 

Instantly, Kennedy thought of the fair object of all 
this melee. He rushed to the divan on which he had 
placed Elaine. 

She was slowly returning to consciousness. 

As she opened her eyes, for an instant, she gazed 
at Craig, then at Bennett. Still not comprehending 
just what had hapepned, she gave her hand to Bennett. 
Bennett lifted her to her feet and slowly assisted her 
as she tried to walk away. 

Kennedy watched them, more stupefied than if he 
had been struck over the head by Long Sin. 

Police and detectives were now taking the captured 
Chinamen away, as Bennett, his arm about Elaine, led 
her gently out. 

A young detective had slipped the bracelets over 
Long Sin's wrist, and I was standing beside him. 

Kennedy, in a daze at the sight of Elaine and 
Bennett, passed us, scarcely noticing who we were. 

As Craig collected his scattered forces, Long Sin 
motioned to him, as if he had a message to deliver. 

Kennedy frowned suspiciously. He was about to 
turn away, when the Chinaman began pleading ear- 
nestly for a chance to say a few words. 

" Step aside for a moment, you fellows, won't you 



28o THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

please," Craig asked. " I will hear what you have to 
say, Long Sin." 

Long Sin looked about craftily. 

" What is it ? " prompted Craig, seeing that at last 
they were all alone. 

Long Sin again looked around. 

" Swear that I will go free and not suffer," Long 
Sin whispered, " and I will betray the great Clutching 
Hand." 

Kennedy studied the Chinaman keenly for a mo- 
ment. Then, seemingly satisfied with the scrutiny, 
he nodded slowly assent. 

As Craig did so, I saw Long Sin lean ovej: and 
whisper into Kennedy's ear. 

Craig started back in horror and surprise. 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE RECKONING 

Pacing up and down his den in the heart of China- 
town, Long Sin was thinking over his bargain with 
Kennedy to betray the infamous Clutching Hand. 

It was a small room in a small and unpretentious 
house, but it adequately expressed the character of the 
subtle Oriental. The den was lavishly furnished, while 
the guileful Long Sin himself wore a richly figured 
lounging gown of the finest and costliest silk, chosen 
for the express purpose of harmonizing with the lux- 
urious Far Eastern hangings and furniture so as to 
impress his followers and those whom he might choose 
as visitors. 



THE RECKONING 281 

At length he seated himself at a teakwood table, 
still deliberating over the promise he had been forced 
to make to Kennedy. He sat for some moments, 
deeply absorbed in thought. 

Suddenly an idea seemed to strike him. Lifting a 
little hammer, he struck a Chinese gong on the table 
at his side. At the same time, he leaned over and 
turned a knob at the side of a large roll-top desk. 

A few seconds later a sort of hatchway, covered by 
a rug on the floor, in one corner of the room, was 
slowly lifted and Long Sin's secretary, a sallow, 
cadaverous Chinaman, appeared from below. He 
stepped noiselessly into the room and shuffled across 
to Long Sin. 

Long Sin scowled, as though something had inter- 
fered with his own plans, but tore open the envelope 
without a word, spreading out on his lap the sheet 
of paper it contained. 

The letter bore a typewritten message, all in capi- 
tals, which read : 

" Be at headquarters at 12. Destroy this im- 
mediately." 

At the bottom of the note appeared the sinister sig- 
nature of the Clutching Hand. 

As soon as he had finished reading the note, the 
Chinaman turned to his obsequious secretary, who 
stood motionless, with folded arms and head meekly 
bent. 

" Very well," he said with an imperious wave of his 
hand. " You may go." 

Bowing low again, the secretary shuffled across and 



282 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

down again through the hatchway, closing the door as 
he descended. 

Long Sin read the note once more, while his in- 
scrutable face assumed an expression of malicious jcun- 
ning. Then he glanced at his heavy gold watch. 

With an air of deliberation, he reached for a match 
and struck it. He had just placed the paper in the 
flame when suddenly he seemed to change his mind. 
He hastily blew out the match which had destroyed 
only a corner of the paper, then folded the note care- 
fully and placed it in his pocket. 

A few moments later, with a malignant chuckle, 
Long Sin rose slowly and left the room. 

Meanwhile, the master criminal was busily engaged 
in putting the finishing touches to a final scheme of 
fiendish ingenuity for the absolute destruction of Craig 
Kennedy. 

He had been at work in a small room, fitted up as a 
sort of laboratory, in the mysterious house which now 
served as his headquarters. 

On all sides were shelves filled with bottles of deadly 
liquids and scientific apparatus for crime. Jars of 
picric acid, nitric acid, carboys of other chemicals, 
packages labelled gunpowder, gun cotton and nitro- 
glycerine, as well as carefully stoppered bottles of 
prussic acid, and the cyanides, arsenic and other poi- 
sons made the place bear the look of a veritable devil's 
workshop. 

Clutching Hand, at a bench in one corner, had just 
completed an infernal machine of diabolical cunning, 
and was wrapping it carefully in paper to make an in- 
nocent package. 



THE RECKONING 283 

He was interrupted by a knock at the door. Laying 
down the bomb he went to answer the summons wuth 
a stealthy movement. There stood Long Sin, who had 
disguised himself as a Chinese laundryman. 

"On time — good!" growled Clutching Hand surl- 
ily as he closed the door with equal care. 

No time was wasted in useless formalities. 

** This is a bomb/' he went on, pointing to the pack- 
age. " Carry it carefully. On no account let it slip, 
or you are a dead man. It must be in Kennedy's 
laboratory before night. Understand? Can you ar- 
range it ? " 

Long Sin looked the dangerous package over, then 
with an impassive look, replied, '' Have no fear. I 
can do it. It will be in the laboratory within an hour. 
Trust me." 

Long Sin nodded sagely, while Clutching Hand 
growled his approval as he opened the door and let out 
the Chinaman. Long Sin departed as stealthily as he 
had come, the frightful engine of destruction hugged 
up carefully under his w^ide-sleeved coolie shirt. 

For a moment Clutching Hand gave himself up to 
the exquisite contemplation of what he had just done, 
then turned to clean up his workshop. 

In Kennedy's laboratory I was watching Craig make 
some experiments with a new X-ray apparatus which 
had just arrived, occasionally looking through the 
fluoroscope when he was examining some unusually 
interesting object. 

We were oblivious to the passage of time, and only 
a call over our speaking tube diverted our attention. 



284 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

I opened the door and a few seconds later Long Sin 
himself entered. 

Kennedy looked up inquiringly as the Chinaman ap- 
proached, holding out a package which he carried. 

" A bomb/' he said, in the most matter of fact way. 
" I promised to have it placed in your laboratory be- 
fore night." 

The placid air with which the grotesque looking 
Chinaman imparted this astounding information was 
in itself preposterous. His actions and words as he 
laid the package down gingerly on the laboratory table 
indicated that he was telling the truth. 

Kennedy and I stared at each other in blank amaze- 
ment for a moment. Then the humor of the thing 
struck us both and we laughed outright. 

Clutching Hand had told him to deliver it — and he 
had done so ! 

Hastily I filled a pail with water and brought it to 
Kennedy. 

" If it is really a bomb/' I remarked, '' why not put 
the thing out of commission?" 

" No, no, Walter," he cried quickly, shaking his 
head. '' If it's a chemical bomb, the water might be 
just the thing to make the chemicals run together and 
set it off. No, let us see what the new X-ray machine 
can tell us, first." 

He took the bomb and carefully placed it under the 
wonderful rays, then with the fluoroscope over his 
eyes studied the shadow cast by the rays on its sensi- 
tive screen. For several minutes he continued safely 
studying it from every angle, until he thoroughly un- 
derstood it. 

" It's a bomb, sure enough," Craig exclaimed, look- 



THE RECKONING 285 

ing up from it at last to me. '' It's timed by an in- 
genious and noiseless little piece of clockwork, in 
there, too. And it's powerful enough to blow us all, 
the laboratory included, to kingdom come.'' 

As he spoke, and before I could remonstrate with 
him, he took the infernal machine and placed it on a 
table w^here he set to work on the most delicate and 
dangerous piece of dissection of which I have ever 
heard. 

Carefully unwrapping the bomb and unscrewing one 
part while he held another firm, he finally took out of 
it a bottle of liquid and some powder. Then he placed 
a few grains of the powder on a dish and dropped on 
It a drop or two of the liquid. There w^as a bright 
flash, as the powder ignited instantly. 

" Just what I expected," commented Kennedy with 
a nod, as he examined the clever workmanship of the 
bomb. 

One thing that interested him was that part of the 
contents had been wrapped in paper to keep them in 
place. This paper he was now carefully examining 
with a hand lens. 

As nearly as I could make it out, the paper con- 
tained part of a typewritten chemical formula, which 
read: 

TINCTURE OF IODINE 

THREE PARTS OF — 

He looked up from his study of the microscope to 
Long Sin. 

'' Tell me just how it happened that you got this 
bomb," he asked. 



286 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

Without hesitation, the Chinaman recited the cir- 
cumstances, beginning with the note by which he had 
been summoned. 

"A note?" repeated Kennedy, eagerly. ''Was it 
typewritten ? " 

Long Sin reached into his pocket and produced the 
note itself, which he had not burned. 

As Craig studied the typewritten message from the 
Clutching Hand I could see that he was growing more 
and more excited. 

*' At last he has given us something typewritten," he 
exclaimed. '' To most people^ I suppose, it seems that 
typewriting is the best way to conceal identity. But 
there are a thousand and one ways of identifying type- 
writing. Clutching Hand knew that. That was why 
he was so careful to order this note destroyed. As for 
the bomb, he figured that it would destroy itself." 

He was placing one piece of typewriting after an- 
V other under the lens, scrutinizing each letter closely. 

" Look, Walter," he remarked at length, taking a 
fine tipped pencil and pointing at the distinguishing 
marks as he talked. '' You will notice that all the 
' T's ' in this note are battered and faint as well as 
just a trifle out of alignment. Now I will place the 
paper from the bomb under the lens and you will also 
see that the * T's ' in the scrap of formula have ex- 
actly the same appearance. That indicated, without 
the possibility of a doubt, taken in connection with a 
score of other peculiarities in the letters which I could 
pick out that both were written on the same typewriter. 
I have selected the ' T ' because it is the most marked." 

I strained my eyes to look. Sure enough, Kennedy 



THE RECKONING 287 

was right. There was that unmistakable identity be- 
tween the T's in the formula and the note. 

Kennedy had been gazing at the floor, his face puck- 
ered in thought as I looked. Suddenly he slapped his 
hands together, as if he had made a great discovery. 

"I've struck it!'' he exclaimed, jumping up. ''I 
was wondering where I had seen typewriting that re- 
minds me of this. Walter, get on your coat and hat. 
We are on the right trail at last." 

With Long Sin we hurried out of the laboratory, 
leaving him at the nearest taxicab stand, -where we 
jumped into a waiting car. 

'' It is the clue of the battered ' T's,' " Craig mut- 
tered. 

Aunt Josephine was in the library knitting when the 
butler, Jennings, announced us. We were admitted at 
once, for Aunt Josephine had never quite understood 
what was the trouble between Elaine and Craig, and 
had a high regard for him. 

'* Where is — ^liss Dodge ? " inquired Kennedy, 
with suppressed excitement as we entered. 

'' I think she's out shopping and I don't know just 
when she will be back," answered Aunt Josephine, 
with some surprise. " Why ? Is it anything impor- 
tant — any news ? " 

*' Very important," returned Kennedy excitedly. 
" I think I have the best clue yet. Only — it will be 
necessary to look through some of the household cor- 
respondence immediately to see whether there are cer- 
tain letters. I wouldn't be surprised if she had some 
— perhaps not very personal — but I must see them." 

Aunt Josephine seemed nonplussed at first. I 



288 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

thought she was going to refuse to allow Craig to pro- 
ceed. But finally she assented. 

Kennedy lost no time. He went to a desk where 
Elaine generally sat, and quickly took out several type- 
written letters. He examined them closely, rejecting 
one after another, until finally he came to one that 
seemed to interest him. 

He separated it from the rest and fell to studying it, 
comparing it with the paper from the bomb and the 
note which Long Sin had received from the Clutching 
Hand. Then he folded the letter so that both the 
signature and the address could not be read by us. 

A portion of the letter, I recall, read something like 
this: 

" This is his contention : whereas truth is the only 
goal and matter is non-existent- — 

" Look at this, Walter," remarked Craig, with diffi- 
culty restraining himself ^ " What do you make of it? " 

A glance at the typewriting was sufficient to show 
me that Kennedy had indeed made an important dis- 
covery. The writing of the letter which he had just 
found in Elaine's desk corresponded in every respect 
with that in the Clutching Hand note and that on the 
bomb formula. In each instance there were the same 
faintness, the same crooked alignment, the same bat- 
tered appearance of all the letter T's. 

We stared at each other almost too dazed to speak. 

At that moment we were startled by the sudden ap- 
pearance of Elaine herself, who had come in unex- 
pectedly from her shopping expedition. 



THE RECKONING 289 

She entered the room carrying in her arms a huge 
bunch of roses which she had evidently just received. 
Her face was half buried in the fragrant blossoms, but 
was fairer than even they in their selected elegance. 

The moment she saw Craig, however, she stopped 
short with a look of great surprise. Kennedy, on his 
part, who was seated at the desk still tracing out the 
similarities of the letters, stood up, half hesitating 
what to say. He bowed and she returned his saluta- 
tion with a very cool nod. 

Her keen eye had not missed the fact that several 
of her letters lay scattered over the top of the desk. 

'' What are you doing with my letters, ]\Ir. Ken- 
nedy ? '' she asked, in an astonished tone, evidently 
resenting the unceremoniousness with which he had ap- 
parently been overhauling her correspondence. 

As guardedly as possible, Kennedy met her inquiry, 
which I could not myself blame her for making. 

'' I beg pardon^ ]\Iiss Dodge,'' he said, '' but a matter 
has just come up which necessitated merely a cursory 
examination of some purely formal letters which might 
have an important bearing on the discovery of the 
Clutching Hand. Your Aunt had no idea where you 
were, nor of when you might return, and the absolute 
necessity for haste in such an important matter is my 
only excuse for examining a few minor letters without 
first obtaining your permission." 

She said nothing. At another time, such an ex- 
planation would have been instantly accepted. Now, 
however, it was different. 

Kennedy read the look on her face, and an instant 
later turned to Aunt Josephine and myself. 

" I would very much appreciate a chance to say a 



290 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

few words to Miss Dodge alone/' he intimated. " I 
have had no such opportunity for some time. If you 
would be so kind as to leave us in the library — for a 
few minutes — '' 

He did not finish the sentence. Aunt Josephine 
had already begun to withdraw and I followed. 

For a moment or two, Craig and Elaine looked at 
each other, neither saying a word, each wondering just 
what was in the other's mind. Kennedy was won- 
dering if there was any X-ray that might read a 
woman's heart, as he was accustomed to read others 
of nature's secrets. 

He cleared his throat, the obvious manner of cov- 
ering up his emotion. 

" Elaine," he said at length, dropping the recent 
return to *' Miss Dodge," for the moment, '' Elaine, is 
there any truth in this morning's newspaper report of 
— of you?" 

She had dropped her eyes. But he persisted, taking 
a newspaper clipping from his pocket and handing it 
to her. 

Her hand trembled as she glanced over the item : 

SOCIETY NOTES 

Dame Rumor is connecting the name of Miss Elaine 
Dodge, the heiress, with that of Perry Bennett, the 
famous young lawyer. The announcement of an en- 
gagement between them at any time would not sur- 
prise — 

Elaine read no further. She handed back the clip- 
ping to Kennedy. As her eyes met his, she noticed 



THE RECKOXIXG 291 

his expression of deep jconcern, and hesitated with the 
reply she had evidently been just about to make. 

Still, as she lowered her head, it seemed to give 
silent confirmation to the truth of the newspaper re- 
port. 

Kennedy said nothing. But his eyes continued to 
study her face, even when it was averted. 

He suppressed his feelings with a great effort, then, 
without a word, bowed and left the room. 

'' Walter," he exclaimed as he rejoined us in the 
drawing room, where I was chatting w^ith Aunt Joseph- 
ine, *' we must be oft' again. The trail follows still 
further.'' 

I rose and much to the increased mystification of 
Aunt Josephine, left the house. 

An hour or so later, Elaine, whose mind was now 
in a whirl from what had happened, decided to call on 
Perry Bennett. 

Two or three clerks were in the outer office when 
she arrived, but the office boy, laying down a dime 
novel, rose to meet her and informed her that ]\Ir. 
Bennett was alone. 

As Elaine entered his private office, Bennett rose to 
greet her eft'usively and they exchanged a few words. 

'' I mustn't forget to thank you for those lovely 
roses you sent me,'' she exclaimed at length. ^^ They 
were beautiful and I appreciated them ever so much.'' 

Bennett acknowledged her thanks with a smile, she 
sat down familiarly on his desk, and they plunged into 
a vein of social gossip. 

A moment later, Bennett led the conversation around 
until he found an opportunity to make a tactful al- 



292 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

lusion to the report of their engagement in the morn- 
ing papers. 

He had leaned over and now attempted to take her 
hand. She withdrew it, however. There was some- 
thing about his touch which, try as she might, she 
could not like. Was it mere prejudice, or was it her 
keen woman's intuition? 

Bennett looked at her a moment, suppressing a mo- 
mentary flash of anger that had reddened his face, and 
controlled himself as if by a superhuman effort. 

'' I believe you really love that man Kennedy," he 
exclaimed, in a tone that was almost a hiss. " But 
I tell you, Elaine, he is all bluff. Why, he has been 
after that Clutching Hand now for three months — 
and what has he accomplished ? Nothing ! " 

He paused. Through Elaine's mind there flashed 
the contrast with Kennedy's even temper and deferen- 
tial manner. In spite of their quarrel and the cool- 
ness, she found herself resenting the remark. Still 
she said nothing, though her expressive face showed 
much. 

Bennett, by another effort, seemed to grip his temper 
again. He paced up and down the room. Then he 
changed the subject abruptly, and the conversation was 
resumed with some constraint. 

While Elaine and Bennett were talking, Kennedy 
and I had entered the office. 

Craig stopped the boy who was about to announce 
us and asked for Bennett's secretary instead, much to 
my astonishment. 

The boy merely indicated the door of one of the 
other private offices, and we entered. 



THE RECKONING 293 

We found the secretary, hard at work at the type- 
writer, copying a legal document. Without a word, 
Kennedy at once locked the door. 

The secretary rose in surprise, but Craig paid no 
attention to him. Instead he calmly walked over to 
the machine and began to examine it. 

'' flight I ask — '' began the secretary. 

'' You keep quiet," ordered Kennedy, with a nod to 
me to watch the fellow. '' You are under arrest — 
and the less you say, the better for you." 

I shall never forget the look that crossed the sec- 
retary's face. Was it the surprise of an innocent 
man? 

Taking the man's place at the machine, Kennedy 
removed the legal paper that was in it and put in a 
new sheet. Then he tapped out, as we watched: 

BE AT HEADQUARTERS AT 12. DESTROY 
THIS IMMEDIATELY 

TINCTURE OF IODINE 

THREE PARTS OF — 

This is his contention : — whereas truth is the only 
goal and matter is non-existent — 

T T T T 

'' Look, Walter," he exclaimed as he drew out the 
paper from the machine. 

I bent over and together we compared the T's with 
those in the Clutching Hand letter, the paper from 
the bomb and the letter which Craig had taken from 
Elaine's desk. 

As Craig pointed out the resemblances with a pencil, 



294 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

my amazement gradually changed into comprehension 
and comprehension into conviction. The meaning of 
it all began to dawn on me. 

The writing was identical. There were no difJer- 
ences ! 

While we were locked in the secretary's office, Ben- 
nett and Elaine were continuing their chat on various 
social topics. Suddenly^ however, with a glance at 
the clock, Bennett told Elaine that he had an impor- 
tant letter to dictate, and that it must go off at once. 

She said that she would excuse him a few minues 
and he pressed a button to call his secretary. 

Of course the secretary did not appear. Bennett 
left 'his office, with some annoyance, and went into the 
adjoining room the door to which Kennedy had not 
locked. * 

He hesitated a moment, then opened the door quietly. 
To his astonishment, he saw Kennedy, the secretary, 
and myself apparently making a close examination 
of the typewriter. 

Gliding rather than walking back into his own office, 
he closed the door and locked it. Almost instantly, 
fear and fury at the presence of his hated rival, Ken- 
nedy, turned Bennett, as it were, from the Jekyll of 
a polished lawyer and lover of Elaine into an insanely 
jealous and revengeful Mr. Hyde. The strain was 
more than his warped mind could bear. 

With a look of intense horror and loathing, Elaine 
watched him slowly change from the composed, calm, 
intellectual Bennett she knew and respected into a re- 
pulsive, mad figure of a man. 

His stature even seemed to be altered. He seemed 



THE RECKONING 295 

to shrivel up and become deformed. His face was 
terribly distorted. 

And his long, sinewy hand slowly twisted and bent 
until he became the personal embodiment of the Clutch- 
ing Hand. 

x\s Elaine, transfixed with terror, watched Bennett's 
astounding metamorphosis, he ran to the door lead- 
ing to the outer office and hastily locked that, also. 

Then, with his eyes gleaming with rage and his 
hands working in murderous frenzy, he crouched, 
nearer and nearer, towards Elaine. 

She shrank back, screaming again and again in 
terror. 

He zi'Qs the Clutching Hand ! 

In spite of closed doors, we could now plainly hear 
Elaine's shrieks. Craig, the secretary and myself 
made a rush for the door to Bennett's private office. 
Finding it locked, we began to batter it. 

By this time, however, Bennett had hurled himself 
upon Elaine and was slowly choking her. 

Kennedy quickly found that it was impossible to 
batter down the door in time by any ordinary means. 
Quickly he seized the typewriter and hurled it through 
the panels. Then he thrust his hand through the 
opening and turned the catch. 

As we flung ourselves into the room, Bennett rushed 
into a closet in a corner, slamming the door behind 
him. It was composed of sheet iron and effectually 
prevented anyone from breaking through. Kennedy 
and I tried vainly, however, to pry it open. 

Whie w^e were thus endeavoring to force an en- 
trance, Bennett, in a sort of closet, had put on the 



296 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

coat, hat and mask which he invariably wore in the 
character of the Clutching Hand. Then he cautiously 
opened a secret door in the back of the closet and 
slowly made an exit. 

Meanwhile, the secretary had been doing his best 
to revive Elaine, who was lying in a chair, hysterical 
and half unconscious from the terrible shock she had 
experienced. 

Intent on discovering Bennett's whereabouts, Ken- 
nedy and I examined the wall of the office, thinking 
there might possibly be some button or secret spring 
which would open the closet door. 

While we were doing so, the door of a large safe 
in the secretary's office gradually opened and the 
Clutching Hand emerged from it, stepping carefully 
towards the door leading to the outer office, intent on 
escaping in that direction. 

At that moment, I caught sight of him, and leaping 
into the secretary's office, I drew my revolver and 
ordered him to throw up his hands. He obeyed. 
Holding up both hands, he slowly drew near the door 
to his private office. 

Suddenly he dropped one hand and pressed a hid- 
den spring in the wall. 

Instantly a heavy iron door shot out and closed over 
the wooden door. Entrance to the private office was 
absolutely cut off. 

With an angry snarl, the Clutching Hand leaped at 
me. 

As he did so, I fired twice. 

He staggered back. 



THE RECKONING 297 

The shots were heard by Kennedy and Elaine, as 
well as the secretary, and at the same instant they dis- 
covered the iron door which barred the entrance to 
the secretary's office. 

Rushing into the outer office, they found the clerks 
excitedly attempting to open the door of the secre- 
tary's office which was locked. Kennedy drew a re- 
volver and shot through the lock, bursting open the 
door. 

They rushed into the room. 

Clutching Hand was apparently seated in a chair at 
a desk, his face buried in his arms, while I was ap- 
parently disappearing through the door. 

Kennedy and the clerks pounced upon the figure in 
the chair and tore off his mask. To their astonish- 
ment, they discovered that it was myself ! 

My shots had missed and Clutching Hand had 
leaped on me with maddened fury. 

Dressed in my coat and hat, which he had deftly 
removed after overpowering me and substituting his 
own clothes. Clutching Hand had by this time climbed 
through the window of the outer office and was mak- 
ing his way down the fire escape to the street. He 
reached the foot of the iron steps leaped off and ran 
quickly away. 

Shouting a few directions to the secretary, the 
clerks and Elaine, Kennedy climbed through the win- 
dow and darted down the fire escape in swift pursuit. 

The Clutching Hand, however, managed to elude 
capture again. Turning the street corner he leaped 
into a taxi which happened to be standing there, and, 
hastily giving the driver directions, was driven rapidly 



298 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

away. By the time Kennedy reached the street 
Clutching Hand had disappeared. 

While these exciting events were occurring in Ben- 
nett's office some queer doings were in progress in the 
heart of Chinatown. 

Deep underground, in one of the catacombs known 
only to the innermost members of the Chinese secret 
societies, was Long Sin's servant, Tong Wah, popu- 
larly known as " the hider/' engaged in some mysteri- 
ous work. 

A sinister-looking Chinaman, dressed in coolie cos- 
tume, he was standing at a table in a dim and musty, 
high-ceilinged chamber, faced with stone and brick. 
Before him were several odd shaped Chinese vials, 
and from these he was carefully measuring certain 
proportions, as if concocting some powerful potion. 

He stepped back and looked around suspiciously as 
he suddenly heard footsteps above. The next mo- 
ment Long Sin, who had entered through a trap door, 
climbed down a long ladder and walked into the room. 

Approaching Tong Wah^ he asked : " When will 
the death-drink be ready ? " 

'' It is now prepared," was the reply. 

Long Sin took the bowl in which the liquor had 
been mixed, and, having examined it, he gave a nod 
and a grunt of satisfaction. Then he mounted the 
ladder again and disappeared. 

As soon as he had gone Tong Wah, picking up 
several of the vials, went out through an iron door at 
the end of the room. 

A few minutes later the Clutching Hand drove up 
to Long Sin's house in the taxicab and, after paying 




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T3 



w 



THE RECKONING 299 

the chauffeur, went to the door and knocked sharply. 

In response to his knocking Long Sin appeared on 
the threshold and motioned to Bennett to come in, evi- 
dently astonished to see him. 

As he entered, Bennett made a secret sign and said : 
'' I am the Clutching Hand. Kennedy is close on my 
trail, and I have come to be hidden." 

In a tone which betrayed alarm and fear the China- 
man intimated that he had no place in which Bennett 
could be concealed w4th any degree of safety. 

For a moment Bennett glared savagely at Long Sin. 

" I possess hidden plunder worth seven million dol- 
lars," he pleaded quickly, '' and if by your aid I can 
make a getaw^ay, a seventh is yours." 

The Chinaman's cupidity was clearly excited by 
Bennett's offer, while the bare mention of the amount 
at stake was sufficient to overcome all his scruples. 

After exchanging a few words he finally agreed to all 
the Clutching Hand said. Opening a trap door in the 
floor of the room in which they were standing, he led 
Bennett down a step-ladder into the subterranean 
chamber in which Tong Wah had so recently been pre- 
paring his mysterious potion. 

As Bennett sank into a chair and passed his hands 
over his brow in utter weariness. Long Sin poured into 
a cup some of the liquor of death which Tong Wah 
had mixed.. He handed it to Bennett, who drank it 
eagerly. 

" How do you propose to help me to escape ? '' 
asked Bennett huskily. 

Without a word Long Sin went to the wall, and, 
grasping one of the stones, pressed it back, opening a 
large receptacle, in which there were two glass coffins 



300 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

apparently containing two dead Chinamen. Pulling 
out the coffins, he pushed them before Bennett, who 
rose to his feet and gazed upon them with wonder. 

Long Sin broke the silence : '' These men," he said, 
'' are not dead ; but they have been in this condition 
for many months. It is what is called in your lan- 
guage suspended animation." 

" Is that what you intend to do with me ? " asked 
Bennett, shrinking back in terror. 

The Chinaman nodded in affirmation as he pushed 
back the coffins. 

Overcome by the horror of the idea Bennett, with 
a groan, sank back into the chair, shaking his head as 
if to indicate that the plan was far too terrible to 
carry out. 

With a sinister smile and a shrug of his shoulders 
Long Sin pointed to the cup from which Bennett had 
drunk. 

" But, dear master," he remarked suavely, '^ you 
have already drunk a full dose of the potion which 
causes insensibility, and it is overcoming you. Even 
now," he added, '' you are too weak to rise." 

Bennett made frantic efforts to move from his seat, 
but the potion was already taking effect, and through 
sheer weakness he found he was unable to get on his 
feet in spite of all his struggles. 

With a malicious chuckle Long Sin moved closer 
to his victim and spoke again. 

" Divulge where your seven million dollars are hid- 
den," he suggested craftily, '' and I will give you an 
antidote." 

By this time Bennett, who was becoming more rigid 
each moment, was unable to speak, but by a movement 



THE RECKONING 301 

of his head and an expression in his eyes he indicated 
that he was ready to agree to the Chinaman's proposal. 

'' Where have you hidden the seven milHon dol- 
lars ? '^ repeated Long Sin. 

Slowly, and after a desperate struggle, Bennett 
managed to raise one hand and pointed to his breast 
pocket. The Chinaman instantly thrust in his hand 
and drew out a map. 

For some moments Long Sin examined the map in- 
tently, and, with a grin of satisfaction, he placed it in 
his own pocket. Then he mixed what he declared was 
a sure antidote, and, pouring some of the liquor into- 
a cup, he held it to Bennett's lips. 

As Bennett opened his mouth to drink it, Long Sin, 
with a laugh slowly pulled the cup away and poured 
its contents on the floor. 

Bennett's body had now become still more rigid.. 
Every sign of intelligence had left his face, and al- 
though his eyes did not close, a blank stare came over 
his countenance, indicating plainly that the drug had. 
destroyed all consciousness. 

By this time, I was slowly recovering my senses in 
the secretary's office, where Bennett had left me in 
the disguise of the Clutching Hand. Elaine, the sec- 
retary, and the clerks were gathered round me, doing 
all they could to revive me. 

Meanwhile, Kennedy had enlisted the aid of two 
detectives and was scouring the city for a trace of 
Bennett or the taxicab in which he had fled. 

Somehow, Kennedy suspected, instinctively, that 
Long Sin might give a clue to Bennett's whereabouts^ 



302 THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE 

and a few moments later, we were all on our way in a 
car to Long Sin's house. 

Though we did not know it, Long Sin, at the mo- 
ment when Kennedy knocked at his door, was feeling 
in his inside pocket to see that the map he had taken 
from Bennett was perfectly safe. Finding that he 
had it, he smiled with his peculiar oriental guile. 
Then he opened the door, and stood for a moment, 
silent. 

'' Where is Bennett ? " demanded Kennedy. 

Long Sin eyed us all, then with a placid smile, said, 
'* Follow me. I will show you." 

He opened a trap door, and we climbed down after 
Craig, entering a subterranean chamber, led by Long 
Sin. 

There was Bennett seated rigidly in the chair beside 
the table from which the vials and cups, about which 
we then knew nothing, had been removed. 

*' How did it happen ? " asked Kennedy. 

'* He came here," replied Long Sin, with a wave of 
his hand, '' and before I could stop him he did away 
with himself." 

In dumb show, the Chinaman indicated that Ben- 
nett had taken poison. 

" Well, we've got him," mused Kennedy, shaking 
his head sadly, adding, after a pause, ''but he is 
dead." 

Elaine, who had followed us down, covered her 
eyes with her hands, and was sobbing convulsively. 
I thought she would faint, but Kennedy led her gently 
away into an upper room. 

As he placed her in an easy chair, he bent over her, 
soothingly. 



THE RECKONING 303 

'' Did you — did you — really — love him ? " he 
asked in a low tone, nodding in the direction from 
which he had led her. 

Still shuddering, and with an eager look at Ken- 
nedy, Elaine shook her beautiful head. 

Then, slowly rising to her feet, she looked at Craig 
appealingly. For a moment he looked down into her 
two great lakes of eyes. 

" Forgive me," murmured Elaine, holding out her 
hand. Then she added in a voice tense with emotion, 
" Thank you for saving me.'' 

Kennedy took her hand. For a moment he held it. 
Then he drew her towards him, unresisting. 



THE END 




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